St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien scheduled a mandatory status conference for Nov. 13 at 9:30 a.m. in a man’s case against the City of East St. Louis and one of its police officers alleging a criminal suspect stole a police car and caused several accidents.
According to the complaint filed on June 19, Johnnie L. Bosley Jr. claims he suffered a collapsed lung, multiple rib fractures, a lacerated spleen and a lacerated left ear after Ricky Raper stole East St. Louis police officer Rodell Andrews’ squad car and violently collided with Bosley’s vehicle.
The suit claims that around 8:30 a.m., Andrews arrived at the scene and parked his police car immediately behind a metro bus, where inside Raper was refusing to pay the proper fare. Andrews allegedly left the car running and the doors unlocked when he boarded the bus and approached Raper, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs, the suit states.
Raper began walking away from the bus after Andrews made him leave, but he then “approached and entered the unlocked and/or unsecured squad [car],” the suit states. Raper then allegedly put the squad car into drive and “violently collided into the vehicle being driven by plaintiff.”
The defendants previously filed a motion to dismiss last month along with a memorandum of law in support of the motion arguing that the Tort Immunity Act “provides immunity for public employees in the execution or enforcement of any law,” the motion states.
“The purpose of the Tort Immunity Act is to protect local public entities and public employees from liability arising from the operating of government,” the memorandum states.
More specifically, the Act states that officers cannot be held liable for injuries caused by an escaped or escaping prisoner or any injury caused by the failure to make an arrest or by releasing a person in custody.
The defendants state that law enforcements officials have a responsibility to protect the general public, not individual citizens; and that the act was not foreseeable as there was no way for Officer Andrews to know that Raper would enter the squad car, put it in gear, drive away and crash into the plaintiff.
“In the end, plaintiff is attempting to make defendants responsible for the acts of a fleeing criminal,” the motion states. “It violates sound principles of public policy to hold the defendants liable for the decisions and actions of criminals.”
Bosley blames Andrews for allowing the accident to occur, saying he failed to shut off the squad car’s engine, failed to remove the keys from the ignition, failed to render the squad car temporarily inoperable prior to exiting the car, failed to lock all of the squad car’s doors after exiting the squad car and failed to otherwise secure the doors.
Bosley also blames the City of East St. Louis for failing to properly instruct Andrews on precautionary measures that must be taken to maintain control of his squad car, failing to ensure that Andrew’s receive proper training and failing to properly supervise Andrews’ precautionary measures taken to ensure the safety of his police car.
Bosely is seeking a judgment of more than $250,000.
Bosely is represented by Michael J. Garavalia of Flynn, Guymon and Garavalia in Belleville.
The City of East St. Louis and Andrews are represented by Michael L. Wagner of Clayborne, Sabo & Wagner, LLP in Belleville.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 13-L-302