Family of Maria 'Tonie' Schwab to file wrongful death lawsuit, lawyers say
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago police officer has been charged with aggravated DUI in the death of a woman fatally struck outside the House of Blues in River North in December.
Tangie Brown, 40, was off duty at the time of the crash. She is charged with one felony count of Aggravated DUI/Accident/Death and one felony count of Aggravated Use of Communication Device/Death.
She is also charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to render aid and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving, and was cited for failure to reduce speed and improper traffic lane usage.
Police said a Brown was driving an SUV in the 300-block of North State Street at about 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 7 when she lost control of her vehicle and jumped the curb.
According to court documents, off-duty officer lost control after dropping her cell phone while trying to use her GPS.
The SUV struck a 56-year-old woman who was on the sidewalk, police said. She was identified as Maria "Tonie" Schwab.
Schwab was pinned against the metal fence and police said she was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she died.
An attorney for the family spoke after the charges were filed, saying in part, "They've been going through their stages of grief. How this happened when she was out of town at a company, Amplify, work trip, and they have a beautiful young daughter and to never see their mom again, wife again-They are just devastated."
Attorneys said they plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Brown and other defendants may be added to the list.
"It's very disturbing, right? That the people we hold responsible to 'serve and protect' us right? That's the motto of the Chicago Police department that they're involved in this kind of tragedy," said attorney Tim Cavanagh.
Police said the she was in Chicago from Texas on a business trip for an educational company. In a statement, a spokesperson said in part, "The entire Amplify community is deeply saddened and grieving this sudden loss."
Police said Brown was relieved of her police powers on the day of the crash. Cavanagh said they are investigating her actions leading up to the crash.
"We want to know what she was doing-we know from the charges today that she was on her phone," he said.
Brown appeared in court Tuesday and was released pretrial. She is due back in court on Feb. 20.