Cook County jury awards $10.5 million to estate of man who died after a speeding chase

A jury awarded $10.5 million to the family of a 61-year-old man who was killed in a collision during a police chase in April 2018 on the city’s North Side.

The victim, Tuong Lam, suffered for 17 minutes after his vehicle was struck by a car fleeing police on April 13, 2018, according to attorneys representing Lam’s estate.

Shortly after the crash, prosecutors charged the motorist who fled police with reckless homicide. That man, Jusef Wofford, of West Rogers Park, later pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

But Lam’s family attorneys argued that three Chicago police officers chased the motorist without notifying their supervisor on radio and were reckless in their actions.

A police vehicle had been chasing the motorist at speeds up to 90 mph and traveling the wrong way down a one-way street. Lam had to be cut from his vehicle and suffered fatal internal bleeding, the news release said.

The Cook County jury deliberated for more than three hours before giving a unanimous verdict against the city Tuesday. The jury awarded Lam’s estate $3 million for loss to society, $6 million for grief, sorrow and mental suffering and an additional $1.5 million for conscious pain and suffering, according to court documents.

A city spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.

“We’re pleased the jury held the city responsible for their reckless actions,” Michael D. Ditore, one of Lam’s attorneys, said in a news release. “The evidence was clear that the officers violated the Chicago Police Department’s own rules that were designed to prevent tragedies like this,”

Lam, who immigrated to America in 1982, is survived by three adult children and his wife, who testified during the weeklong trial, the news release said.