City to Pay Nearly $1.3 Million to Family of Boy Killed in Chase

A City Council committee voted unanimously Monday, to recommend payment of $1.275 million to the family of an 11 year old boy, who was killed by a driver fleeing police.

Donovan Turnage was on his way to get a Christmas haircut in December of 2013, when his family’s car was hit by a man driving a stolen van being chased by police near 55th and Halsted.

“I hope if there’s going to be reform in the city on a bigger level that this is included,” the family’s attorney, Martin Dolan said. “High speed pursuits are dangerous period. They’re dangerous to the community, dangerous to police officers themselves, and only in exceptional circumstances should they be initiated.”

On the day of the tragedy, police say 36-year-old Rockie Douglas hijacked several cars and caused the crash which killed Donovan. He was eventually arrested in Wisconsin and faces murder charges in connection with the child’s death.

Investigators said Douglas was initially spotted near 50th and Princeton, driving a car which had been stolen in a carjacking the day before. He is accused of hitting the Chevy Suburban in which Donovan was riding when he ran a red light as police pursued near Halsted and Garfield Boulevard.

Last year, NBC 5 Investigates showed the alarming number of crashes involving police pursuits in the Chicagoland area. During a ten year period, we documented at least 141 pursuit-related crashes, involving 108 deaths, with a threefold jump in fatalities since 2013.

Since our original reports in May of 2016, nearly $6 million more has been paid out in Chicago alone.

“Police have to do their job, but there has to be a balance between the danger that they continue to pose to the community when a pursuit goes on,” Dolan said.

The full City Council is expected to vote on the proposed settlement later this week.

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