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Son sues Skokie over garbage truck crash that killed mom


Updated: October 29, 2013 10:57PM

The son of a Korean woman who was one of three people killed in a fiery car crash with a Skokie garbage truck Oct. 15 is suing the Village of Skokie, he said Tuesday.

The collision occurred at 12:40 p.m. at Harlem and Harrison in Glenview, according to Glenview Police. Gwi Rye Kim was in the back seat of an SUV with Chicago residents Won Suk Lim, 56, and his wife, Jung Ran Min, 50, when their vehicle was crushed and caught fire after impact.

Kim’s son, Jaeyoul Jung, alleges in the lawsuit that the garbage truck driver was traveling too fast for conditions and not paying close enough attention. The driver was allegedly on his way to a refuse transfer station with a loaded truck at the time.

“My family and I are so very sad because of what happened to her,” Jung said Tuesday at Clifford Law Offices in downtown Chicago. “It is not right. We need answers. We thought we would have her for many more years. Instead her death came so suddenly and we were not prepared. Knowing how she died brings even greater sadness because of the violent nature of her death.”

Jung, who lives in Korea and came here after his mother died, made his statement in Korean and it was translated in English.

After the crash, Skokie released a statement that maintained that the driver had “complete right of way.” The passenger vehicle violated the two-way stop sign and entered the intersection, according tothe statement.

Thomas K. Prindable, managing partner of Clifford Law Offices, doesn’t deny that the garbage truck driver had the right of way and that the SUV driver was required to stop before heading through the intersection. But he said the suit was filed to ascertain all the facts surrounding the crash.

“Mr. Jung and his family members would really just like some answers as to how this tragic crash happened,” he said.

The truck pushed the SUV about 90 feet and landed on top of it, causing a fire, he said. The victims burned to death and their bodies could not immediately be identified. He wants to be able to inspect the vehicles and have “equal status” with Glenview Police in the investigation.

According to Prindable, a Mack garbage truck of this kind should have an “electronic control module” that would record the speed of the garbage truck, the speed at braking and the length of the braking.

“The garbage truck driver has never been identified in the press,” Prindable said. “We have requested and have been denied the police report. We have requested the name of the driver and have been denied.”

Skokie officials have said only that the driver is a 19-year veteran with a solid record.

Jung is seeking more than $50,000, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, states that Kim’s death left her two adult sons and adult daughter with losses that include “support, society, companionship, love, affection, protection and consortium.”

The three victims who died that day owned or worked at a Korean restaurant in Chicago and were enjoying a day off, Prindable said.

Prindable said the garbage truck driver will be added to the lawsuit once his name is identified, along with the driver of the car, Kim’s close friend. The latter, though, is more complicated because you can’t sue the estate of a dead person, only the representative of the estate, which takes some time, he said.

“That’s the only reason the village of Skokie is the only named defendant at this time,” Prindable said.

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