Family of woman killed in hit-and-run sues man let off of drug charges in 2013 over cops' alleged lies

By Jonathan Bilyk | Nov 8, 2016

The family of a Chicago woman killed in an August Morton Grove car crash have brought a wrongful death action against the other driver, a Glenview man who has been charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence, and who three years earlier had been let off by a judge on drug charges amid allegations of perjury by the arresting officers.

On Nov. 1, Joshua R. Turner, the adult son of Denise Cavada, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against Joshua Sperling, asking a judge to order Sperling to pay the family damages which “substantially exceeds $100,000” for his role in Cavada’s death.

The complaint centered on the fatal car crash that claimed Cavada’s life on Aug. 26. According to the lawsuit, a Lexus automobile driven by Sperling, 26, struck the car driven by Cavada, 48, at the intersection of Golf Road and Julie Road in Morton Grove.

According to a report published in the Chicago Tribune, prosecutors said witnesses had seen Sperling’s vehicle speeding down Golf Road, and weaving in and out of traffic, including driving on the median to pass another vehicle before colliding with Cavada’s vehicle. Prosecutors said they believed Sperling’s car was traveling at about 90 mph when it struck Cavada’s car. The Tribune report indicated Cavada’s vehicle had split in two from the force of the collision.

According to Cavada’s family’s lawsuit, Cavada’s vehicle also burst into flames following the collision.

Prosecutors said Sperling had fled the scene on foot following the collision, hiding in a parking lot.

Prosecutors and the family’s lawsuit noted Sperling had driven while intoxicated. Prosecutors said he had been drinking with friends at bars in Des Plaines and Niles before the crash.

Prosecutors charged Sperling in connection with Cavada’s death in the days following the crash.

Turner and Cavada’s family are represented in the wrongful death action by attorney Brian J. Lewis, of the firm of Gibson Lewis, of Waukegan.

Three years before the crash, Sperling had been arrested in connection with possession of about a pound of marijuana following a traffic stop. However, those charges had been dismissed by Cook County Judge Catherine Haberkorn after Sperling’s lawyer produced video of the traffic stop, which contradicted police officers' testimony concerning how they had searched Sperling and his car during that traffic stop.

Those officers were later officially charged with perjury and official misconduct.

Sperling had sued the village of Glenview and the city of Chicago over the arrest, receiving a $195,000 settlement deal.

That arrest, however, had followed several other run-ins with the law, including over allegations of burglary and delivery of marijuana. He also had pleaded guilty to reckless driving in 2008, according to the Tribune report.

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