A Cook County jury has awarded $22.7 million to a woman whose husband died in 2012 in a multi-car wreck on I-294 in Chicago’s western suburbs, allegedly caused by a man with drugs in his system while behind the wheel of a truck.
The jury handed down the verdict on Monday, April 25, ending a two-week trial at the Daley Center in Chicago in the wrongful death lawsuit filed in June 2012.
According to court documents and published reports, Aaron Swenson, 31, of Union, died May 22, 2012, when a truck driven by defendant Adam Troy, who was working for Bridgeton, Mo.-based Hussmann Corporation, slammed into the rear of his car, pushing his vehicle into a truck stopped in front of him.
Swenson’s widow, Theresa Swenson, now 31, of Chicago, who was pregnant with their child at the time of the crash, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court a few weeks later against Troy and Hussmann Corp.
The Swenson family was represented in the action by attorneys with the Clifford Law Offices in Chicago.
According to a release from Clifford Law, the verdict was reached after just three hours of deliberations, awarding $10 million to the Swenson family for grief and sorrow and $10 million more for loss of society. Clifford Law said the verdict was “the largest wrongful death verdict in (Cook County) in more than a decade.”
Court documents and the release from Clifford Law noted Troy was believed to have been speeding at the time of the crash, and that he had “drugs in his system” at the time of the crash. The release did not identify the specific drugs that Troy was believed to have taken before the crash. The release said Troy had a “history of speeding tickets.”
In a prepared statement, Colin Dunn, a partner at Clifford Law, said the evidence indicated Troy had “most likely started out his day in an impaired condition,” as the crash occurred shortly before 8 a.m. Troy, Dunn said, “ended the life of an innocent man,” producing “a devastating loss for his family.”
“The loss of this young husband and father was senseless,” said Clifford Law partner Kevin Durkin.
Troy and Hussman Corp. were represented in the action by the firm of Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis, of Chicago.