Wrongful death suit targets Belleville PD

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 16, 2005, 7:02am

Belleville Police Department

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the City of Belleville and one of its police officers in St. Clair County Circuit Court June 9, seeking damages in excess of $50,000 stemming from a fatal police chase a year ago on Foley Drive in Belleville.

Phyllis Pearson alleges that Belleville Police officer James Huber initiated a high speed chase of a vehicle driven by Samuel Pearson, Jr. on June 9, 2004. As a result of the chase, Pearson left the roadway, hit a tree and sustained injuries that led to his death.

“The conduct of the city of Belleville and officer Huber was willful and wanton, which displayed an utter indifference and conscious disregard for the safety of others,” the complaint states.

Pearson claims that Huber pursued the vehicle driven by Samuel at an excessive speed that was clearly dangerous, failed to follow police department policies, failed to place public safety before the desire to apprehend a vehicle which was involved in only misdemeanor or traffic offense, violated rules of pursuit and failed to issue an audible warning to stop.

According to the complaint, Huber also failed to use his lights and siren, failed to communicate with the dispatcher throughout the entire pursuit and failed to have justification for initiating the pursuit.

Pearson, represented by Carmen Durso of Belleville, alleges that she suffered losses of a personal and pecuniary nature, and has incurred medical, funeral and burial expenses.

05 L 341 (20th Circuit)

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