The family of one of the victims of a fiery Glenview car crash with a Skokie garbage truck has filed suit against the village of Skokie.
A special administrator for the estate of Gwi Rye Kim filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Kim, 65, of the 2600 block of West Berwyn in Chicago, was among three people who died when the passenger car she was riding in crashed into the garbage truck at Harlem Avenue and Harrison Street on Oct. 15.
Her oldest son, Jae Youl Jung, appeared at a press conference Tuesday at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago.
"We have faith in the American justice system to do what is right so that our mother will be honored and her death will not be in vain," he told reporters. His statement was translated by a Korean interpreter.
The garbage truck was on the way to a transfer station in Glenview when it struck the 2006 Kia SUV Kim was riding in, according to the family's complaint. The passenger car became lodged underneath the garbage truck, and both burst into flames.
The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the truck driver was negligent by driving too fast for conditions, not keeping a proper lookout for vehicles and failing to give warning with its horn, among other charges.
Along with Kim, the other two passengers of the car also died in the crash. They were identified as Jung Ran Min, 51, and Won Suk Lim, 56, who was driving the car. Both Min and Lim lived in the 2500 block of West Farragut Street in Chicago. The driver of the garbage truck was not injured in the crash, according to the village of Skokie.
"The Village refuse truck had complete right of way and entered the intersection, at which time a passenger vehicle violated the two-way stop sign control and entered the intersection," the village of Skokie said in a press release posted shortly after the crash.
"The individual has been employed by the Village of Skokie for 19 years and has an excellent performance record," Skokie officials said in the release. "Required post-incident protocols are being followed."
Police are still investigating the crash, and have retained the Skokie garbage truck and SUV, according to Robert Clifford, a senior partner with Clifford Law Offices.
“We have been denied access to these important elements of evidence, including access to the downloading of any Electronic Control Modules on the garbage truck or SUV, which will tell us about the speed of the vehicles at impact and any braking efforts at impact,” Clifford said in a press release. “We have asked the court to order the Glenview Police to preserve all evidence and release the police report to the plaintiff.”
Thomas Prindable, an attorney with the Clifford Law Offices, also spoke to reporters at the press conference Tuesday. He emphasized that Kim was a passenger in the car, which was driven by Won Suk Lim.
"Our client, Gwi Rye Kim, is the most innocent party, because she was a passenger," he said. "Both Mr. Lim and the garbage truck driver had a duty to keep her safe."
Prindable said the law firm would likely add Lim and the driver of the garbage truck to the lawsuit.
Editor's Note: This story was updated to include details from a press conference Tuesday afternoon.