(Editor's note: This story has been updated. A previous version misidentified attorney Michael Garavalia with an incorrect photo. The Record apologizes for the error).
A St. Clair County man has filed suit against the East St. Louis police officer who he claims left his vehicle unlocked, allowing an allegedly intoxicated man to climb into it and operate it, causing multiple collisions.
Johnnie L. Bosley Jr. claims he suffered a collapsed left lung, multiple rib fractures, a lacerated spleen and a lacerated left ear after Ricky Raper stole a police vehicle and violently collided with Bosley’s vehicle.
Raper was able to steal the vehicle on Oct. 3 following an incident at a Metro bus stop. Raper had attempted to board a bus at about 8:15 a.m., but failed to pay the required bus fare. The bus driver then repeatedly requested that Raper either pay the fare or leave the bus, but Raper was not willing to do either, according to the complaint filed June 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.
At about 8:30 a.m., East St. Louis police officer defendant Rodell Andrews arrived at the scene and parked his squad car immediately behind the bus, the suit states. Without shutting off the police car or locking its doors, Andrews boarded the bus and approached Raper, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the complaint says.
Raper was allowed to leave the bus and began to walk away from the vehicle, but then entered the police car, Bosley claims. From there, Raper put the squad car into drive and violently collided with two vehicles, one of which was Bosley’s, according to the complaint.
In addition to his multiple injuries, Bosley experienced pain, suffering and mental anguish; endured permanently disfiguring scars; incurred medical costs; and suffered damages to his vehicle rendering it a total loss, the suit states.
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 doors after exiting the squad car and failed to otherwise secure the doors.
In his complaint, Bosley is seeking a judgment of more than $250,000, plus other relief the court deems just.
Bosley will be represented by Michael J. Garavalia of Flynn, Guymon and Garavalia in Belleville.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-302.