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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

City To Pay $2 Million To Family Of Woman Killed By Fleeing Driver In ‘Reckless’ Police Chase

Curtis Pugh killed Julia Lynn Callaway in 2018 as he fled officers who allegedly smelled cannabis coming from his car. Callaway’s family alleged “it was reckless for the police to pursue" Pugh "when the need to apprehend [him] was minimal."

A Chicago Police squad car sits with its lights on in the middle of the 1200 South block of Wabash Avenue in the South Loop late at night on June 30, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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SOUTH SHORE — City Council approved a $2 million settlement Wednesday for the family of Julia Lynn Callaway, who was killed by a driver fleeing officers during a high-speed chase in 2018.

The settlement was approved during Wednesday’s City Council meeting without discussion or a roll-call vote.

The council’s Finance committee approved the settlement Monday, with Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), Ald. Marty Quinn (13th), Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd) and Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) voting no, according to the Daily Line.

The incident began when police followed Curtis Pugh as he drove a sedan in South Shore. Officers thought they smelled cannabis coming from Pugh’s car, as reported by the Daily Line.

An officer reported Pugh “leaned forward and shrugged his shoulder, which caused the officer to believe that the driver might be handling a gun,” city attorney Jeff Levine told the finance committee Monday.

Pugh sped away, weaving through rush-hour traffic before driving onto a sidewalk and killing Callaway. Pugh was convicted of murder and is still serving his prison sentence.

The lawsuit filed by Callaway’s family alleged “it was reckless for the police to pursue the other car when the need to apprehend was minimal and the risk to the public at rush hour was great,” said Levine, the city’s assistant corporation counsel.

Police did not find a gun in Pugh’s car.

Lopez on Monday called Pugh “the originator in all this,” saying he is “not paying nearly as much” as the city.

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