$1.1 million sought in fatal ESL accident; Plaintiff says mother died as suspect fled in police car

By Kelly Holleran | Oct 29, 2013

A second lawsuit has been filed in connection with the accident that occurred after an East St. Louis police officer left his vehicle unlocked, allowing an allegedly intoxicated man to climb into it and operate it, causing multiple collisions that resulted in at least one death.

Reginald Quarles claims his mother, Maxsimillion Quarles, died after Ricky Raper stole a police vehicle and violently collided with his mother's 2001 Mercury Sable.

Raper was able to steal the vehicle on Oct. 3, 2012, 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 Sept. 30 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, Reginald Quarles claims. From there, Raper put the squad car into drive and violently collided with two vehicles, one of which was Maxsimillion Quarles, according to the complaint.

Because of his mother’s death, Reginald Quarles lost her services, society, companionship, consortium, love and companionship, the suit states. He also incurred funeral and burial costs, the complaint says.

Reginald Quarles 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 lock the ignition, failed to lock all of the squad car doors after exiting the squad car and failed to otherwise secure the doors, among other negligent acts.

He also names the city of East St. Louis as a defendant, saying it negligently failed to properly perform proper maintenance on its police vehicles, failed to install a run-lock ignition in its police vehicles, failed to implement a plan to prevent marked police vehicles from being stolen, failed to follow its own policies and procedures regarding vehicle safety and maintenance, failed to adequately and properly supervise its employees and failed to train its employees to follow protocol.

In addition to Andrews and East St. Louis, Reginald Quarles names Raper as a defendant, saying he negligently stole a police car, drove the stolen vehicle into the back of the Sable, failed to keep the vehicle under proper control, failed to maintain a proper lookout for other vehicles, drove in an unsafe manner, drove too fast, failed to take evasive action to avoid a collision, failed to warn of his impending approach by sounding his horn, drove too closely to the Sable, rear-ended the Sable and failed to remain in his proper lane.

In his complaint, Reginald Quarles is seeking a judgment of more than $1.15 million, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Hobbs will be represented by Steven E. Katzman and Daniel C. Katzman of Katzman and Sugden in Belleville.

Another lawsuit over the incident was filed in June by plaintiff Johnnie L. Bosley, Jr. who claims a lung injury after he was struck in his vehicle by the eluding Raper.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-504.


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