Libertyville parents sue Volkswagen over tracking of carjacked vehicle with child inside

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Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Volkswagen sued over tracking of carjacked vehicle in Libertyville
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Volkswagen faces a lawsuit from a mother after her car was stolen in Libertyville with her child inside.

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A lawsuit has been filed against Volkswagen by the parents of a toddler who was kidnapped in the back of a carjacked vehicle.

Last February, Taylor Shepherd was outside her home in Libertyville, about to get her son from the car, when police said two men pulled up, knocked her to the ground, and stole her car with her two-year-old son inside. She was run over as the thieves fled, and was 24 weeks pregnant at the time.

"I thought these people were kidnappers and I would never see my son again. I did not think they were there just to steal my car," she said.

RELATED: Libertyville pregnant mom recovering after run over trying to stop car theft with child inside

She had tire tracks over her stomach and suffered numerous broken bones, including a fractured pelvis. But that was no her concern. She called 911 and remembered she had a tracking device in her Volkswagen to help police find her car and her son.

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen announces Car-Net changes after Libertyville car theft with child inside

But Volkswagen allegedly refused to give law enforcement the GPS tracking location data from the car because the free trial period had expired.

"I didn't even think that would be an issue, that VW would refuse to tell us where our son was, especially when it's kidnappers and every second matters," Shepherd said.

The family said because Volkswagen and Verizon, the GPS contractor, refused to cooperate with police, it delayed the urgent search for the missing child.

"Knowing your kid's gone and you can't do anything about it and these people on the other side of the phone that are capable of doing something and they're just telling you no," said father Greg Kovtelidakis.

Police were able to find her son Isaiah in Waukegan after an alert citizen saw the toddler walking near a busy road where the carjackers apparently pushed him out of the stolen vehicle.

Isaiah was physically unharmed, but Shepherd remains in physical therapy for her injuries.

In the aftermath of the incident, Volkswagen started giving five year subscriptions for the tracking service on select models.

Neither Volkswagen nor Verizon responded to ABC7's requests for comments on the lawsuit, but in March a Volkswagen executive called what happened a "process failure."

"I think this case and the facts are just an egregious example of corporate greed putting profits over people," said attorney Gerald Bekkerman.