BELLEVILLE – Lawyer Bruce N. Cook is being sued over a May 19, 2016 auto accident that allegedly left a Belleville policeman sick, lame and disabled.
According to the suit filed April 26 in St. Clair County circuit court, officer Jeffrey Jensen claims that the injuries he incurred as a passenger in an “authorized law enforcement vehicle” have prevented him from following his usual occupation. Belleville police have been contacted about Jensen’s job status, but have not responded to phone calls.
Jensen’s lawyer, James Keefe, named the firm of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer, and Shevlin as first defendant.
According to the suit, Cook operated his vehicle as the firm’s president, partner, or agent.
Keefe wrote that the vehicle Jensen was in – identified in a police report as an unmarked vehicle running lights and sirens to a call for service – traveled west on West Main Street, making use of audible and visual signals.
Cook, operating a 2015 Lexus and exiting Fischer’s Kitchen and Tap, turned left to cross the westbound lanes, the suit claims. Cook’s vehicle then allegedly entered the westbound lanes, causing a collision.
Keefe wrote that the firm and Cook had a duty to exercise ordinary care for the safety of persons on the roadway and had a duty to yield to emergency vehicles.
He wrote that they failed to yield or keep a proper lookout, and failed to keep the Lexus under control, reduce its speed, swerve or stop.
Jensen claims injuries to his shoulders, limbs, back, neck, spine, and head. He also allegedly continues to suffer severe pain and anguish in body and mind.
His injuries have allegedly prevented him from following his occupation and attending to his affairs and duties. He further claims that he will continue losing large sums of money and paying large sums for treatment.
Keefe practices at Keefe and DePauli, in Fairview Heights.
For 22 days after the accident, state police suppressed a report identifying Cook as driver of the Lexus.
State police reported injuries to two officers, but concealed their names for 26 days.
The other officer was Aaron Hackleman.
According to court records involving the incident, Cook faces a bench trial June 8 on a charge of failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. He pleaded not guilty July 22, 2016. Court proceedings have been continued nine times since Cook entered his plea.
Three judges have presided over the matter - Associate judges William Clay, IV, Chris Kolker and Janet Hormberg.
Cook is represented by Leah Captain, an attorney at the Cook firm.