High speed chase crash victim sues Alton police and suspect

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 8, 2005, 10:46am

An innocent victim whose vehicle was struck in the course of a high speed chase last year is suing the Alton Police Department and the driver who tried to escape capture.

Madison County resident Cedric Cox filed suit March 8 in Madison County Circuit Court seeking more than $400,000 for injuries and lost wages.

He claims Alton Police were in pursuit of Dennis Lackey--whose speed reached 80 miles per hour in city streets--on May 24, 2004. Lackey ran a red light, striking the Toyota Camry in which Cox was a passenger. The accident took place at Route 3 and Route 143 in Wood River.

"Cox was thrown to and fro in the car causing severe and disabling injuries, including a closed head injury, a large Pneumo-thorax and pleural effusion, a liver laceration, and a ruptured spleen," according to the complaint.

The high speed chase took place "over roadways in Alton...which were being traveled by innocent pedestrians, car drivers, and bystanders subjecting the innocent people including himself to the risk of grievous bodily harm," the suit states.

Cox claims that Alton Police knew at the outset of the pursuit that Lackey, who was driving a 2000 GMC Yukon, was not licensed, but began and continued a high speed chase over roadways anyway.

According to the complaint, Cox sustained a fracture to the left clavicle, the left second, third, and fourth rib. He also had a portion of his stomach surgically removed.

In addition to becoming dependent on a ventilator, Cox claims he also suffered a traumatic diaphragmatic rupture and damage to his internal organs.

According to the complaint, Cox claims Alton Police committed the following willful and wanton, and reckless acts of misconduct:

  • continued the pursuit of Lackey with reckless disregard for the safety of the general public when they knew that continuing the pursuit posed a severe danger to the public by traveling at speeds in excess of 80 m.p.h. through residential areas;

  • continued the pursuit when they concluded Lackey was drunk;

  • failed to terminate the pursuit when they knew the risks associated with continuing were greater than the public safety benefit from the capture of Lackey; and

  • conducted a high speed road chase through residential areas with high population density when they believed Lackey to be drunk.

    Cox accused Lackey of driving under the influence of alcohol, running a red light, driving too fast for conditions, speeding, and failing to keep a proper lookout.

    According to court documents Lackey was charged with DUI, felony aggravated fleeing of police over 21 m.p.h., reckless driving and driving with no insurance.

    Lackey was charged with his second offense of writing bad checks over $150 on May 19, 2004.

    Cox is represented by Ross Anderson of The Rex Carr Law Firm in East St. Louis. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

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    Organizations in this Story

    Alton Police Department
    1700 E Broadway
    Alton, IL 62002

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