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City of O’Fallon claims minor girl walked into traffic when struck by police cruiser

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Nov 17, 2015

The City of O’Fallon and the city police captain deny liability and claim a minor girl walked out into traffic in a woman’s lawsuit alleging her daughter was struck by a police car while attempting to cross the street.

Catherine Barrows, as guardian, parent and next of friend of minor and disabled Asia Graham, filed the lawsuit on Sept. 18 against Reginald “Mick” Hunter and the City of O’Fallon.

According to the complaint, she alleges Graham was a pedestrian attempting to cross North Illinois Street near its intersection with Beau Gon Drive in Swansea on Sept. 19, 2014, at approximately 8 p.m. While attempting to cross the street, Barrows alleges Hunter struck Graham, injuring and disabling her.

Hunter was driving an undercover police vehicle owned by the city at the time of the accident.

Barrows alleges Hunter was negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout, failing to brake to avoid striking Graham, failing to yield to a pedestrian in the roadway and for driving while distracted.

The defendants answered the complaint on Oct. 20 through attorneys Gerard Cook and Brian Funk of O’Halloran Kosoff Geitner & Cook of Northbrook. They argue that Graham owed a duty to exercise ordinary care for her own safety and the safety of others.

They claim Graham caused her own alleged injuries when she suddenly left the curb or place of safety and walked or ran into the path of a moving vehicle, failed to yield the right-of-way to vehicles in the roadway, failed to cross at a crosswalk, failed to keep a proper lookout for vehicles, knowingly walked onto a busy highway and into vehicular traffic and acted carelessly and negligently by disregarding her own safety.

The defendants also argue that a public entity cannot be held liable for “any injury caused to a pedestrian who was not an intended and permitted user of a public roadway,” the answer states.

Barrows seeks a judgment of more than $50,000 against each defendant, plus costs of the suit.

The plaintiff is represented by Eric M. Rhein of Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-534

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