Family Sues Over Woman's I-290 Death

Diana Paz was killed while walking on the Eisenhower Expressway after she was arrested for DUI, police said

By Lisa Balde and Anthony Ponce
|  Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011  |  Updated 8:49 PM CDT
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Family Sues Over Woman's I-290 Death

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A judge on Wednesday ruled that surveillance video obtained by the Illinois State Police from a gas station not be tampered or destroyed.

The evidence could be beneficial to the family of Diana Paz, a 25-year-old criminal justice student who was killed last Friday while walking on Interstate 290 just hours after being arrested on a DUI charge.

"She was supposed to be held in custody until she was alert.  I mean, c'mon -- DUI -- you get arrested for a DUI and two hours later you're let go? I don't think so," said Omar Reyes, Paz's brother-in-law.

Family members believe the material, including videos and blood alcohol results, will show that Paz was still intoxicated when police dropped her off at the gas station.  The suit names the Illinois State Police, BP Amoco and others.

"The family does not have access to any of this evidence, and we feel they're entitled to the answers here," said attorney Timothy Cavanagh, who filed the suit on behalf of the family.

Paz was struck at approximately 6:10 a.m. Friday by a Toyota truck just east of Mannheim Road. A witness statement given to police stated she was walking in a marked median area on the expressway.

Earlier that morning, Paz was pulled over for driving the wrong way on I-290 and failed field sobriety tests, police said. She was arrested and released on bond at approximately 5:40 a.m. at the Westchester Police Department, according to police.

Police said she told officers she had no family or means of transportation and requested a ride to a nearby gas station. As a courtesy, police said, a state trooper drove her to the gas station.

Family members want to know what condition she was in when she was dropped off.

"We really don't know what really happened or how it happened, it just seems like it was not fair," said Paz's sister, Maria Paz.

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