Police officer not charged in wrongful death case of Naperville woman

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The daughter of a 73-year-old woman who died in a car accident filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Naperville, Illinois. She is seeking over $50,000 in damages.

Tracy Heusinkveld, a veteran officer of the Naperville Police Department, was also named a defendant in the lawsuit. However, authorities said she will not face any charges in the fatal crash that resulted in the death of Phyllis Manderson.

According to a DuPage County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, Heusinkveld was getting ready to perform a traffic stop on a truck when Manderson made a left turn ahead of her. Manderson, who was driving her 2017 Hyundai Elantra, was hit by the police vehicle in the intersection. Heusinkveld was in pursuit of a driver she had seen looking at a cellphone.

The complaint accused Heusinkveld of violating a Naperville Police Department rule that bars police officers from chasing vehicles unless there is a “reason to believe that” its driver or passengers “have committed or attempted a forcible felony.” The family said Manderson’s death was the result of Heusinkveld’s negligent conduct.

Heusinkveld was allegedly driving 68 mph instead of the posted 40 mph when the accident occurred. The lawsuit claimed the police officer should have been charged with a misdemeanor as she exceeded the speed limit.

The sheriff’s office spokesman said the main causes of the crash were determined to be the speed of Heusinkveld’s police car and the left turn that Manderson made. Witnesses told investigators they believed Manderson failed to yield the right of way to the police car.

Wrongful death cases are devastating to the victim’s family members. If a loved one’s death is caused by the carelessness of another, it may be possible to pursue compensation.

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