The family of an intoxicated woman killed while walking on Interstate 290 last fall filed a wrongful death suit Thursday against the law enforcement agencies involved with the incident.
The suit, filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of Diana Paz's son, Eric Martinez, names the Illinois State Police and the Westchester Police Department as defendants.
Paz, a 25-year-old criminal justice student, died Sept. 2 after being struck by a Toyota truck just east of Mannheim Road. She'd been arrested hours earlier for driving the wrong way and later released from custody at a nearby BP Amoco station.
"The state police and the Westchester Police Department that had custody of her, had they done their job, Eric would have his mother with him today," the family's attorney, Tim Cavanagh, said in announcing the lawsuit.
An autopsy estimated Paz's blood alcohol concentration at the time of her death at twice the state's legal limit of .08.
A suit filed by the family shortly after Paz's death sought to retain evidence from the police departments and the gas station.
The last of that evidence, Cavanagh said, was just obtained by his office last week. He said Paz’s family wants the state police procedure changed. Their suit seeks upwards of $50,000 but the family said they will let a jury decide what value Paz's life had to her son.
"He really doesn't understand much yet, but I'm sure that once he starts getting older we will explain to him, in a calm way," Paz's sister, Maria Paz, said of the 5-year-old boy.
Illinois State Police said Thursday that no policy was violated and that the officer involved is still on the force. Westchester police maintain that Paz was never in their custody at all.