Woman Blames Police for Fatal Crash

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – An irresponsible police car chase cost a woman her leg and killed her friend, the woman claims in court.
     Elvira Secic sued the St. Louis Police Board, police Officer Dwayne George, La Onda bar and its owner, and the driver of the car in which she rode, in City Court.
     It happened while Secic and her friend Daunte Simmons were walking on the shoulder of the eastbound lane of the Poplar Street Bridge in the early hours of Sept. 25, 2011, Secic says. She says she and Simmons were hit by a car driven by defendant Brandon Garcia, and by a second car driven by Officer George, who was chasing Garcia at more than 80 mph in heavy traffic.
     “Upon impact, plaintiff’s leg was violently torn from her body,” the complaint states. “Daunte Simmons was knocked off the bridge and he fell to his death.”
     Secic blames it on Club La Onda’s negligence and George’s reckless pursuit.
     She claims Garcia became visibly intoxicated at the club, but it allowed him to leave.
     Garcia then hit George’s police car, instigating the chase, the complaint states.
     Secic claims George did not turn on his overhead lights for the first 62 seconds of the chase and pursued Garcia at high speeds on the bridge despite heavy traffic due to construction.
     She claims Garcia pulled his car over 73 seconds after hitting her and Simmons, and George held him at gunpoint until backup arrived.
     “At 5:51 a.m. on September 25, 2011, Garcia’s blood alcohol content was .162, more than twice the legal limit,” the complaint states. “The was approximately three (3) hours after Garcia had left Club La Onda, and approximately two hours and fifteen minutes after his impact with plaintiff. Further, shortly after the crash, at the scene, defendant Garcia stated that he had urinated his pants. Further, at the scene, Illinois State Trooper J. Baudino also observed that Garcia had urinated his pants, that he smelled a strong odor of alcoholic beverages coming from Garcia’s facial area, that he observed Garcia had glassy bloodshot eyes, that Garcia’s clothing condition was disorderly and soiled, and that Garcia was suffering from the extreme effects of alcohol. … Further, defendant Garcia stated, at the scene, that he did not realize he had struck another vehicle or any pedestrians and believed he was simply under arrest for ‘Driving While Intoxicated.'”
     Cecic says her medical bills have come to more than $600,000 in medical bills and she expects they will top $1 million.
     She seeks actual and punitive damages for negligence.
     She is represented by John Steward.

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