McDONOUGH COUNTY, Il (WGEM) — Attorney John Spesia stated that on Friday the Third District Appellate Court reinstated verdicts against the McDonough County Sheriff’s Office and Officer Thomas Pledge.
The reinstatement was the result of a McDonough County jury’s finding that Officer Pledge’s reckless pursuit of a DUI suspect into the intersection of Route 67 and University Drive at speeds exceeding 100 mph caused a collision which resulted in the death of Jill Dayton and significant injury to Amanda Dayton.
The Appellate Court’s decision ruled that the trial judge, Hon. Richard Gambrell, “erred” when he overturned the jury’s verdicts and entered a judgment in favor of Officer Pledge and the McDonough County Sheriff.
The Appellate Court held that the jury’s decision was correct because there was evidence at trial that “showed that Pledge’s conduct was willful and wanton and that his pursuit of the SUV was the proximate cause of the crash that resulted in Jill’s death and Amanda’s injury.”
Spesia stated the Appellate Court found that “undisputed facts” of Officer Pledge’s willful and wanton conduct included that Pledge “had obtained the license plate number of the SUV when he initiated the stop,” “he knew there had been prior accidents at the intersection of Route 67 and University Avenue,” “he was traveling 100 to 110 miles per hour as he approached Macomb and the SUV, that had turned off its lights during the chase, was also traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour.”
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