William Marietta Died After Danville Police Chase Accident
Wrongful Death - October 12, 2023
William Marietta, 74, Died Two Weeks After Danville Police Chase By Bowman Avenue and Fairchild Street
DANVILLE, ILLINOIS (October 12, 2023) – A74-year-old man identified as William Marietta has tragically died in a Danville car accident during a police chase by Bowman Avenue and Fairchild Street.
Vermilion County officials are saying that the accident took place around 6:30 p.m. on Monday. Police officers saw a 22-year-old man that they recognized as having a revoked license.
Officers began following the car and put their lights and sirens on. The driver refused to pull over and a chase ensued. At some point during the pursuit, the suspect crashed into a pickup truck driven by William Marietta.
Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help the driver of the pickup truck. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Despite life-saving measures, William Marietta died approximately two weeks later at the hospital. A full investigation into the crash remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Danville Police Chase Accidents
Police chases are one of the most dangerous actions that officers can engage in. They put everyone on the roadway in danger and the victims are often innocent bystanders. According to the Injury Prevention Journal, “approximately 300 lives are lost each year in the United States from police pursuit related crashes and one third of these are among innocent people, not being pursued by police. These crashes occur in the dark at high speed often on local roads.” Illinois has very strict rules with respect to when officers may initiate police pursuits.
- An officer may only initiate a pursuit when (a) the suspect is attempting to evade apprehension and (b) the suspect, if not captured, would present a danger to human life or cause serious injury.
- No more than two police officers should be actively engaged in a pursuit at any given time.
- Police officers shall not be involved in a pursuit against the flow of traffic unless given authorization by their supervisor.
- Officers must initiate their lights and sirens during the pursuit.
- A supervisor must continuously review incoming information to determine if a pursuit should be terminated.
- A supervisor must order that a pursuit be terminated if the suspect’s identity is established so that later apprehension is likely and there is no immediate threat to the public.
Depending on the facts of any case, a police department could be liable for an accident if a person is killed by a suspect fleeing a police pursuit. Consider, for example, Stehlik v. Village of Orland Park. Liability may occur following a police chase if plaintiffs can show an officer’s conduct is considered ‘willful and wanton.’ An officer’s conduct can be considered ‘willful and wanton if they showed “utter indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others or their property.” It is important that evidence is properly preserved after any accident.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- Footage from all officers involved should be reviewed.
- Photos of the accident site should be taken.
- A thorough investigation should be conducted.
In far too many situations, a police officer lets their ego drive their actions. They engage in high speed pursuits when they may be unnecessary. It is important for officers to use discretion in these matters and in all things. At the end of the day, high speed pursuits put everyone at risk. The family of any person that dies following a police pursuit may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim.
Investigating Illinois Police Car Accidents
We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the family of William Marietta. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this. There are so many questions that still need to be answered. Why did these officers choose to engage in a pursuit if they already knew the identity of the suspect? Pursuits are normally terminated or not initiated in these circumstances.
Do you need more information about a Danville police chase? Our team of consumer safety advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (312) 564-4256.