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Boone County Sheriff Deputy Cleared of Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The Boone County Sheriff's Department gets cleared of wrongful death lawsuit

WTVO/WQRF - The Boone County Sheriff's Department is cleared in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a Rockford woman that was killed during a police chase. 

Karen Williams died after the suspects whom police were chasing crashed into her car near Cherryvale Mall in November of 2014.  However, Winnebago County Judge Edward Prochaska issued charges against another person involved in the chase.

"The jury has signed verdict Form B, we the jury find for the Boone County Sheriff and against Benny Williams," read Judge Prochaska.

The jury's verdict returned within hours and in favor of the Boone County Deputy, Robert Rosenkranz, who was involved in a pursuit of three suspected armed robbers. 

The Boone County Sheriff's Defense Attorney James Devine says the death of Williams is a tragedy on all fronts.

"There's really no winner in the case.," said Devine.  "Karen Williams' death was a horrible tragedy.  The Boone County Sheriff has said that from day one. It's unfortunate that it was caused by three felons."

However, Williams' Attorney, Curtis Tarver says they were not allowed to tell the jury what they say is a pattern of reckless behavior by the Sheriff's Department and the specific deputy involved in this case, Robert Rosenkranz.

"In 2014, they had 24 police chases.  Robert Rosenkranz, by himself, got in the car January 19th 2014," said Tarver.  "By August 20th 2014, he had initiated five police pursuits himself.  Three had accidents. Once he struck a post at 130 mph. Five chases by him alone, three accidents and one fatal."

The three men who tried to flee from the scene are now serving a sentence of a combined 132 years, but Williams' attorney, Keenan Saulter, says that's not good enough.  Saulter says the crash, William's death, and the jury's verdict is another loss the family will have to face.

"There are no adequate words to express the sense of loss that they felt on August 20th of 2014, on Augsust 27th of 2014, and now November 30th of 2017," said Saulter.

The Williams family is considering an appeal. 


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