Family of woman paralyzed in crash files lawsuit against driver

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The father of a young woman paralyzed in a crash that prosecutors say involved a drunk driver is speaking out. (WLS)

The father of a young woman paralyzed in a crash that prosecutors say involved a drunk driver is speaking out about a lawsuit filed claiming the driver walked away from the crash scene.

ABC7 Eyewitness News has obtained video taken just moments after that crash.

Kelsey Ibach, who was the most seriously injured of those involved in the crash, is an intelligent, beautiful young woman with a bright future ahead of her according to family and friends. Since the crash, she has been confined to a wheelchair and is in rehab for several hours a day.

The driver of the car was apparently not injured, but the lawsuit filed this week alleges he never even called for help before leaving the scene.

It was about four in the morning. A man who came up on the crash scene took cell phone video that shows the 2008 BMW upside down after plunging more than 20 feet from the road.

Two passengers in the car sit dazed outside waiting for help to arrive. Twenty-five-year-old Kelsey Ibach remained trapped inside the back seat, her spine and pelvis crushed, with broken ribs, a punctured lung and a blood clot on her brain.

The driver of the car was long gone. According to police, he fled the scene after the crash, allegedly ignoring his injured passengers.

"My daughter's crying out to him, 'I need 911, call an ambulance, I can't move,' and he turned and ran," said Bob Ibach, Kelsey's father.

Kelsey and the others were at several River North nightclubs earlier in the evening. As they were about to leave they say 28-year-old Philip Cho offered them a ride. But police say he was intoxicated and allegedly drove well over the speed limit, hit a post and crashed through a fence before plunging to the ditch below the road.

"He went straight through the fence into the rail yard below. The car landed on its roof and Kelsey was paralyzed," said attorney Ted McNabola.

The Ibach family has filed suit against the Cho and two clubs he had allegedly been at that night, The Mid on Halsted and the Hubbard House in on Hubbard.

Philip Cho



Cho has already been charged with failure to report an accident and several other traffic related counts. Kelsey Ibach studied journalism at the University of Michigan. She remains paralyzed from the waist down. Her friends have been raising money to help pay her medical bills. Her father says he wants the driver, who is from Naperville, to learn a lesson.

"He tried to go ahead and call his buddy in the front seat and said to him, 'Hey, bro, lose the keys, let's make it look like a hijacking,' and then he turned and ran and caught a cab all the way out to Naperville," Bob Ibach said.

The lawsuit also names the entertainment company Cho works for. He is free on $200,000 bond.

Ibach's family says she is working hard hoping to regain feeling in her legs and hopes to be able to walk again.


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