In the early morning hours last June 27, Chicago police officer Jamie Jawor and her partner said they believed they had spotted a black Jeep Cherokee involved in a carjacking a few days before. They gave chase to that car, down Roosevelt Road.
The car was not the one involved in the previous crime, but rather a Jeep driven by a fellow Chicago police officer, Taylor Clark. In a case shrouded in mystery, Clark was pursued for 12 blocks, before colliding with a car driven by 27 year old Chequita Adams. Both Clark and Adams were killed instantly.
More than six months later, virtually nothing else is known about the violent crash, or the chase, which was captured by multiple cameras along Roosevelt Road.
“At least as far as the public’s concerned, there are no more answers today than there were six months ago,” says attorney James Montgomery Jr, who represents Ms. Adams’ mother. “We saw what was clearly an unusual set of circumstances leading to the death of my client’s daughter. And we’ve received nothing.”
Indeed, a visit to the public files of the Chicago Office of Police Accountability (COPA) shows multiple video clips from the night of the tragedy, but only a single report, which is largely blank.
Montgomery, who filed a suit against officer Jawor and the City on behalf of the Adams family, notes the city has not even identified the second officer who was in the car with Jawor that night.
“We don’t even know his name,” he said. “I find that extremely unusual if this were an incident that occurred in the ordinary course of police work.”
The newly-created COPA has the lead on the case, but reportedly the Chicago Police Bureau of Internal Affairs is or will be investigating as well. Officially, both the police department and COPA refused comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
“As we stand here today, we don’t even know if an accident reconstruction report was done,” Montgomery said.
The public version, immediately after the tragedy, stated that the officers had been made aware of the Cherokee involved in the carjacking. Shortly before the chase is made known, the officers make a radio call, “I just had a black Cherokee take off.”
Video from surveillance cameras shows that during much of the chase, the officers proceeded without turning on their emergency lights. Shortly after the lights are first seen, the first references to the violent crash are called in.
“This car is completely totaled,” the officers report. “Somebody’s going to need to be extracted, and it’s on fire.”
Moments later, the officers modify that initial report.
“Looks like there was two cars involved in this accident,” says an officer, believed to be Jawor. “It’s so mangled we can’t make out what kind of car the other car is.”
About seven minutes after the crash, a dispatcher calls, asking the officers if they rolled up on the crash, or actually saw it happen.
“We witnessed the crash,” the officer believed to be Jawor reports.
“The real question comes down to, did the officers in the SUV who were chasing Taylor Clark, know him,” Montgomery said. “That’s the real question.”