Family Gets $6.75 Million Settlement After Fatal Crash - NBC Chicago

Family Gets $6.75 Million Settlement After Fatal Crash

Graphic designer killed while crossing Streeterville street in 2011



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    Justyna Palka pictured on New Year's Eve, 2010.

    The family of a woman killed while crossing a Streeterville street in 2011 has agreed to a $6.75 million settlement with the company that owns the tour bus that struck her.

    Justyna Palka, 26, was walking home from her job as an Art Director at public relations firm Ogilvy & Mather when the accident happened.

    Police say the driver, 47-year-old David Soto, had cocaine in his system at the time of the crash, along with a lengthy criminal history. He remains in jail awaiting charges of one count of reckless homicide, along with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

    The family's lawyers, Corboy & Demetrio, claim video footage shows the bus turning right at the red light at the interction of East Illinois and North Columbus, and striking Palka in the crosswalk.

    Witness Describes Accident Scene

    [CHI] Witness Describes Accident Scene
    Woman in her mid-20s was struck by a bus while crossing the street.
    (Published Tuesday, May 3, 2011)

    The tour bus company, Pontarelli Group, was accused in the lawsuit of not performing the necessary background checks before hiring Soto.

    Pontarelli has also agreed to help fund the Justyna Palka Memorial Scholarship Fund of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on an annual basis through 2022, according to a news released issued by the family's attorneys.