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Collision injures girl, brings $7M settlement

Mom avoids Pace van, but loses control of her vehicle, strikes median

The mother of an 18-month-old who sustained a lacerated liver after a medical-transportation van allegedly cut off the mother’s minivan and caused it to crash has settled her lawsuit for $7 million.

An agreement was reached Oct. 25 ahead of an Oct. 30 Daley Center trial, according to plaintiff’s attorney Jeremy L. Geller of Trapp & Geller.

On Sept. 23, 2015, Brittany Luster and her daughter, Megan Reed, were involved in a crash driving south on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 83rd Street. Luster was on her way to buy diapers, driving in the right lane of the highway, when a white Pace van “abruptly shifted lanes” just a few feet in front of Luster’s minivan.

Luster tried to steer around the van but lost control of her vehicle and crashed into the center concrete median. Luster’s vehicle and the van never made contact. The van’s driver continued to drive on uninterrupted, Geller said.

At the time of the crash, Megan and her twin sister were not secured in child car seats. Rather, the two were strapped in a car sear typically found in a minivan and wore the same adult seat belt across their abdomens, according to court documents.

The three other children in the vehicle at the time of the incident, including Megan’s twin sister, sustained minor injuries, Geller said.

Police responded to the scene and were able to eventually determine Bernice Davis, an SCR Medical Transport employee, was driving the van at the time of the crash.

It was estimated she was travelling approximately 60 mph at the time, Geller said.

Davis denied her involvement in the incident. She died from unrelated reasons while the case was pending, court records stated.

After the crash, Megan became drowsy and was taken by ambulance to the hospital where doctors discovered she has a lacerated liver.

Medical staff performed liver embolization surgery to stop the bleeding. One week later, Megan had another procedure to remove the fluid build up in her abdomen.

Megan was intubated from when she was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 23, 2015, until Oct. 12, 2015. Over the next week she developed stridor, a high-pitched noise while breathing. Doctors determined her trachea was inflamed due to the prolonged intubation.

She underwent a procedure to stabilize her breathing and was discharged on Dec. 17, 2015, and subsequently sent to La Rabida Children’s Hospital until mid-January 2016 for further monitoring, according to court records.

Defense attorneys contended Megan’s injuries were caused because she was improperly placed in an adult seat with an adult seat belt across her abdomen. Had she been placed in a child car seat, the injury would not have occurred, they contended.

The defense was represented by Kurt E. Olsen of Kraker & Olsen and Bradford S. Purcell of Purcell & Wardrope Chtd. Olsen declined to comment on the case.

“We’re pleased that Megan will be taken care of for the rest of her life and she’ll have the necessary care and treatment … To live a normal life.” Geller said.

The case is Brittany Luster v. Pace Suburban Bus, et al., 15 L 10312.