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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

Chicago Police Crash That Killed Woman, 84, Showed ‘Reckless Behavior’ By Officers, Family Says

"Clearly it was a terrible accident," said a police spokesman. "We share their grief ... ."

Verona Gunn (center bottom) died after a car crash Saturday in Austin.
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CHICAGO — An 84-year-old woman died hours after the car she was in was involved in a crash with Chicago Police, and her family is pushing police for answers.

Dwight Gunn, the woman’s son and a pastor in the city, said in a Facebook post that police officers showed “reckless behavior” in the Saturday night crash that killed his mother, Verona Gunn.

Chicago Police said they’re mourning the loss of Verona Gunn, and they met with the Gunn family to try to provide them with more closure.

The crash happened at 9:56 p.m. Saturday. Officers on foot patrol for Memorial Day weekend were in a transport van driving to a new location when other officers radioed for help, saying they were confronting someone who was refusing to put down a gun, said Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for Chicago Police.

The foot patrol officers turned on their van’s emergency equipment and drove off to help the officers; at the same time, an unmarked car with other officers was headed to the scene, too. The police cars went into the intersection of Laramie and Division at the same time and the van T-boned the other car, Guglielmi said.

The T-boned car rolled and hit another car, injuring two people inside: Verona Gunn, 84, and a man, police said.

Seven officers were sent to the hospital. Gunn and the man were taken to Norwegian-American Hospital, with their injuries described as “non-life-threatening” by police.

But Gunn, of the 5200 block of West Bloomingdale, was pronounced dead 2:21 a.m. Sunday at Illinois Masonic Hospital, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

An autopsy showed Gunn died from blunt force injuries from a car crash. Her death was ruled an accident.

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson met with Gunn’s family on Tuesday to talk to them and show them private video of the crash.

Guglielmi wasn’t in the meeting and couldn’t share specifics about what was discussed, but he said Johnson offered his condolences and wanted Gunn’s family to see the “very, very chaotic situation” around the crash.

“Clearly it was a terrible accident,” Guglielmi said. “We share their grief … .”

The incident is “weighing quite heavily” on the officer who was driving the van involved in the crash, Guglielmi said, and he’s been put on emotional leave.

The man with the gun was eventually taken down by a Taser and officers determined the gun he had was just a replica, Guglielmi said.

Dwight Gunn, who could not immediately be reached for comment, said in a Twitter post that the meeting was “a good first step towards answers needed” by his family. He told CBS2 the crash was “absolutely 100 percent avoidable.”

“Now we are planning her funeral, and it’s tragic for our family,” Gunn told CBS2. “We can’t bring our mother back. Hurts us to the core.”

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