Posted On: January 19, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Villages of Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, and Gurnee Settle Cook County-Lake County Car Accident Lawsuits Over 2006 Police Pursuit that Killed One Teen and Left Another with a Traumatic Brain Injury

The villages of Gurnee, Wheeling, and Buffalo Grove have settled the Illinois car accident lawsuits filed on behalf of three teenagers who were involved in a July 23, 2006 catastrophic motor vehicle crash involving a U-Haul truck and its driver, who was fleeing police at the time.

16-year-old Corey Diamond died from his injuries. His friend Elliot Cellini is still recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Brandon Forshall sustained non-life threatening injuries during the car accident, which occurred at the Wheeling-Buffalo Grove border.

The catastrophic car collision occurred when U-Haul driver Ralph Lewis drove through a red light while trying to escape police and crashed straight into the vehicle carrying the teenagers. Lewis had rented the truck so he could fill it up with stolen goods to pay back money for drug-related debts.

Witnesses say that Lewis was driving through the suburbs at a very high-speed as a Gurnee police officer chased him. At different times, Lewis may have been driving anywhere from 50-80 mph. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2008 and is serving a 45-year-prison term.

Wheeling’s board is expected to approve settlements of $18,000 to Diamond’s estate for his wrongful death, as well as $40,000 to Cellini and $2,000 to Forshall for their personal injuries. Late last year, the village of Buffalo Grove’s board approved settlements of $50,000 to Forshall, $500,000 to Diamond’s estate, and $1,000,000 to Cellini. Gurnee settled all of the lawsuits for $50,000. The village of Buffalo Grove is paying the plaintiffs the most because their officers were the lead agents involved in the police chase, which they failed to call off before it turned deadly.

Last year, Diamond’s mother, Melanie, spoke about how his son’s death has left her family “forever incomplete.” Cellini says his personal injuries from the accident have placed him in a “personal prison."

There may be more than one party who should be held liable for your Chicago car accident injuries or your loved one’s wrongful death.

Villages to settle lawsuit in fatal car chase case, Daily Herald, January 19, 2010

U-Haul driver convicted of murder in chase, fatal crash, Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Village of Wheeling, Illinois

Village of Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Village of Gurnee, Illinois

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