Lawsuit filed in fatal crash involving street sweeper

May 2, 2012 3:24:16 PM PDT
A crash with a street sweeping machine in suburban Orland Park last month claimed the lives of a husband, wife and their teenage daughter.

Police say the driver of a street sweeper collided with a car carrying the Deis family last month. The victims of the fatal crash include Samah Deis, 15, and her parents, Nazmi and Wafieh Deis, 62 and 49 respectively, of Tinley Park. The couple's 24-year-old daughter was the only survivor.

Police issued traffic citations to the driver of the street sweeper, 53-year old Jose Ramos.

Now relatives have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that hired Ramos.

The family's 24-year-old daughter, who was driving, shared a room with Samah who was killed. Relatives say she has been so devastated she has been unable to enter the room or get behind the wheel of a car. They say they filed suit to send a message to drivers to keep a tragedy from happening to anyone else.

"It's not about money," said Ashraf Salameh, relative. "If I could be with Samah for one more week or one day."

Salameh and his relatives are still trying to come grips with the loss of three family members a little more than two weeks ago in Orland Park.

According to a witness statement in the police report, the driver of the street sweeper appeared to be speeding and drove through a red light before crashing into the family's Toyota Camry.

The family has filed suit against Midwest Maintenance Systems, which owns the street sweeper involved.

Police say it does not appear the driver of the street sweeper had been drinking.

The family is not angry, just overcome with grief. Samah, they say, was a bright girl who had hopes of becoming a doctor one day so she could help the community.

"They are looking at it as an unfortunate accident, no matter how much money is given to them," said Mark Horwitz, family's attorney.

Samah Deis was a student at Andrew High School in Tinley Park. The school held a memorial for her and all the students wore blue, which was her favorite color.