Committee approves $45M settlement for teen unable to walk, speak after Chicago police chase, crash

Michelle Gallardo Image
Monday, March 18, 2024
Committee approves $45M settlement over serious CPD-involved crash
The full Chicago City Council is expected to approve a $45M settlement over a police chase that ended in a serious car crash in West Town.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This is one of the largest payouts the city has ever had to make.

While the $45 million settlement still has to be voted on by the entire Chicago City Council, at this point, it is considered a formality.

It has been nearly three years since 18-year-old Nathen Jones was last able to walk or even speak after suffering a traumatic brain injury during a car crash that took place in the aftermath of a police chase that, by all accounts, violated CPD policy.

The teenager left the city council on Monday, accompanied by his mother and attorneys, minutes after the finance committee agreed to pay out a $45 million settlement.

"I love him with all my heart. I appreciate who he is now. But his new personality is better than no personality at all, but I definitely miss the child I had," said Erika Boyd, Jones' mother.

According to the lawsuit, it was April 10, 2021 when the driver of the vehicle that Jones was a passenger in committed a traffic violation while driving in West Town near the intersection of Wood and Huron. Under CPD's pursuit policy, officers are not allowed to initiate a chase for traffic violations, but that is exactly what happened.

"Within moments, both the police vehicle and the fleeing vehicle were blowing through stop signs at full speed, blowing through a red light at full speed," said Patrick Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard Attorney Lance Northcutt.

If approved as expected by the full city council, the settlement would be the largest paid by the city since the fatal fire at 69 West Washington in 2003. Taxpayers would be responsible for $20 million. The remainder would be paid out by the city's insurance company.

"If the city did not come to the table and negotiate this settlement, though it is a high settlement, that the likely outcome would have been much worse for the taxpayers," Salvi said.

And while the vote was unanimous, at least one alderman expressed concern that the payout might set a liability precedent for the city.

"We are essentially saying we cannot pursue any vehicle in the future. Is that kind of the direction that we're going in then?" said 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack.

The full city council will vote on whether to approve the settlement at their next meeting on Wednesday.