CHICAGO — An elderly woman died from her injuries after two police vehicles collided with each other, and then crashed into several other cars Saturday night, family and police confirm.
Cell phone video of the crash shows a marked CPD van with its lights and siren on going through a red light and crashing into an unmarked police SUV, which also had its lights on, as it entered the intersection at Division and Laramie around 10 p.m. Saturday.
Police said 10 Chicago police officers and two civilians were taken to area hospitals after the incident. Family members say 84-year-old Verona Gunn was among those hospitalized, and she later died from her injuries. A spokesman for CPD said two officers remain hospitalized.
Verona Gunn’s son Dwight Gunn said she was riding home from a family function with her daughter, son-in-law, and his nine-year-old daughter Saturday night.
“We just had a big family gathering after one of our cousins graduated from U of I; a wonderful time,” Dwight Gunn said.
They were sitting at the stoplight at Laramie and Division just before 10 p.m. Saturday when, according to police, two vehicles responding to a call of officers needing assistance crashed into each other. They then hit three other vehicles, including the Toyota sedan where Verona Gunn was sitting in the rear passenger seat.
“That unmarked vehicle actually flipped over my sisters car,” Gunn said. “Both airbags deployed; my sister has burns on her shoulder.”
The other relatives are okay, but Dwight Gunn feels Verona was not properly evaluated at the scene, and died from internal injuries left untreated for nearly four hours as a result.
“Unfortunately, they did not properly in my mind assess my mother, who had dementia and probably because she could not tell them where she was hurting,” Gunn said.
Verona Gunn was transported to Community First Medical Center on Addision. Once she was there, her son says doctors realized she was in critical condition with internal bleeding. Not equipped to handle that level of trauma, they transported her to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, but Gunn says she arrived around 1:00 a.m. — too late.
“There were at least two different places she was bleeding from,” Gunn said. “When they went to address it, they found a second issue where she was bleeding; her heart couldn’t take it.”
A pastor in Austin, Dwight Gunn wants accountability after losing his elderly mother and matriarch of his family, who he described as, “a dynamic woman who was loving and caring helped anyone she could.”
“Our family is hurting this is still very much a shock to us, and hopefully we will get some answers that will be satisfactory,” Gunn said.
Gunn said he also wants to hear from Chicago police on protocol for responding to calls, and how the officers in these two police vehicles didn’t realize their paths were crossing.
In a statement, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi offered “heartfelt condolences” to the Gunn family, and said the department’s Major Accident Investigation Unit is investigating the circumstances of the accident.