“There are many opportunities we could have stopped this pursuit and we believe the evidence has shown the tragedy would not have occurred,” said Attorney Keenan Saulter who represents Karen Williams’ family.
Tuesday marked the second day of the wrongful death lawsuit the Williams family filed against local law enforcement. They believe officers made mistakes during a high speed police pursuit that resulted in her death.
Saulter says Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Rosenkranz put the public at risk when chasing three suspects from Boone into Winnebago county. “He has a duty to not be reckless, to not endanger the public, and we feel he failed in both those duties,” Saulter said.
Deputy Rosenkranz took the stand defending his actions. The jury was shown dash camera video from Rosenkranz’s vehicle of the chase, showing the suspect vehicle hit Williams’ car. Rosenkranz says the suspects he was chasing, were violent felons who posed a greater risk to the public.
“I knew that I could not be disciplined,” Rosenkranz said. “My main concern is not avoiding discipline, it’s protecting the public,” he added.
Williams’ attorneys however argue Rosenkranz was reckless and acting outside his jurisdiction. “He admitted he was unfamiliar with the areas that he was driving in. He has never been to the intersection to where the chase ultimately terminated with this accident. He had never been on Perryville road in his entire life,” Saulter added.
Karen’s mother and brother both testified. Tears were still shed years after the loss of a family member. “Nobody knows how I feel,” Ching-Pi, Karen’s mother said. “I lost my daughter it’s totally different now, my life is totally different,” she added.
The trial continues Wednesday at 10 a.m.