Victim's Family Receives $2.7 Million Settlement in Fatal Van Crash

Ella Mae Williams died in a crash after a driver contracted by Pace appeared to fall asleep

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    NEWSLETTERS

    8/13/2014: Ella Mae Williams died in a crash after a driver contracted by Pace appeared to fall asleep. NBC 5's Lauren Jiggetts reports.

    The family of a woman killed in a crash while riding in a Pace-contracted minivan last year has reached a settlement.

    The family of Ella Mae Williams will receive $2.7 million from SCR Medical Transportation Paratransit Services, the plaintiffs' lawyers and Pace confirmed Tuesday.

    Family Receives $2.7 Million Settlement in Fatal Pace Van Crash

    [CHI] Family Receives $2.7 Million Settlement in Fatal Pace Van Crash
    8/13/2014: Passenger died in crash after Pace-contracted driver appeared to fall asleep. NBC 5's Lauren Jiggetts obtained the dashcam video.

    Williams, 58, an insulin dependent diabetic who required a wheelchair, was riding in the passenger side of an SCR van in March 2013 when the driver swerved to avoid a pedestrian and hit a light pole in the 4600 block of South Halsted.

    Williams suffered extensive injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead on arrival at an area hospital.

    The dashcam video appears to show the driver, LeRoy Stevenson, falling asleep at the wheel before the crash.

    "The defendant claimed a dog had run out in front of him and he had to swerve to avoid the accident. It turned out not be true," the family's attorney, Ted McNabola, said. "One epidsode of fatigued driving can have devastating impacts on a community and a family."

    Lawyers say Stevenson pleaded guilty to speeding, negligent driving and failure to use a seatbelt following the crash. Stevenson was an employee of SCR, a contractor for Pace, at the time of the crash. The status of his employment with SCR following the crash was not clear but his commercial license was suspended for a year.

    Williams attended Malcom X College and was working toward a degree in Business Administration. She was on her way to a computer class when the crash occurred.

    Calls to SCR for comment were not immediately returned, but Pace officials issued the following statement:

    "We are very sorry that this tragic incident occurred and extend our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Ms. Williams. Safety is our agency’s number one priority and we remain committed to working with our employees and contractors to ensure the highest level of safety is maintained for our customers and others with whom we share the roads."