Chicago City Council approves one of the largest settlements in city history

The Chicago City Council approved one of the largest payouts in city history after a teenage boy suffered a devastating brain injury in a crash resulting from a police chase

The city of Chicago will pay a $45 million settlement to the family of Nathen Jones, who since the 2021 crash, has lost his ability to "walk, speak, or independently function."

A committee approved the settlement on Monday with the full City Council unanimously following its recommendation on Wednesday. 

The incident occurred on April 10, 2021. Nathen had just finished playing video games at a friend's house when he got into the back of a 2002 Volkswagen.

A Chicago police officer said he saw the Volkswagen make an improper stop and activated his emergency lights. The Volkswagen allegedly refused to yield to the officer and went southbound on North Wood Street.

Although the officers knew that they were prohibited from chasing the Volkswagen, under the Chicago Police Department's pursuit policy, they continued to follow close behind, the lawsuit states.

Pictured is Nathen Jones, who was "catastrophically" injured in a crash after a police chase. His family is suing the City of Chicago. (Provided by Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard)

The chase continued and both vehicles went through multiple stop signs and a red light. Both vehicles reportedly reached speeds of 70 miles per hour.

"Within moments, both the police vehicle and the fleeing vehicle were blowing through stop signs at full speed, blowing through a red light at full speed," said Patrick Salvi, attorney for Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard law firm.

According to the lawsuit, three officers were involved in the chase and none of them alerted their supervisors about the pursuit.

The Volkswagen went into the intersection of Grand and Damen Avenues where it struck a Toyota heading southbound.

Jones sustained devastating injuries from the crash. His skull was fractured, which resulted in severe trauma to his brain, the lawsuit states.

He was unconscious and in critical condition when he went to the hospital. 

A portion of Jones' skull was surgically removed and replaced to help save his life, according to the lawsuit. He also had multiple brain bleeds, which led to long-term death of brain tissue. 

Jones now needs around-the-clock nursing and medical care. He will need that care for the rest of his life.

His mom is now his primary caregiver.

"Nathan was a regular. Happy, healthy, active 15-year-old kid. Period. He brought our family a lot of joy. He still does. But the price that he had to pay for being in a car, no amount of money can bring back the child that I had before this," Boyd said.

The officer who drove the patrol car during the crash testified under oath that the pursuit "was a violation of Chicago Police Department Policy," the lawsuit states. 

On April 11, a formal complaint was filed by a supervising patrol sergeant against the officer who drove during the crash. However, there still has been no formal discipline issued against the officer, the lawsuit claims.

All three officers remain with Chicago police. One of the officers was removed from the city's payroll as he awaits disciplinary proceedings before the Police Board.