Father Of Drowned Model Sues City Over River Dropoff

CHICAGO (STMW) — The father of a North Side woman found drowned inside a car in the North Branch of the Chicago River filed a wrongful death suit against the city Thursday.

Irma Sabanovic, 25, left her Rogers Park home where she lived with her father, Fehim Sabanovic, May 12 with the intention of going to a nightclub at West North and North Elston avenues, but she got lost, according to a May 16 missing persons alert from Belmont Area detectives.

About 2 a.m. that night, she texted a male friend that she was lost near North Milwaukee Avenue and West Erie Street. That was the last communication from Sabanovic, the alert said.

Friends and family of the woman, a Bosnian immigrant who was a full-time college student and model, had papered the area with missing person flyers, making appeals at major intersections and online through a Facebook page created to help find the missing woman.

Fehim Sabanovic claims that his daughter was driving a vehicle westbound on the 1100 block of West Blackhawk Street, which terminates at the Chicago River, when her vehicle left the road and plunged into the river May 12, according to a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

Cranes were used last Saturday to pull a blue Ford Focus out of the river near North Elston Avenue and West Blackhawk Street, Shakespeare District Police Lt. Michael Mulkerin said.

Sabanovic, of 1950 W. Hood Ave., was dead on the scene last Saturday inside the submerged car, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The suit claims the city of Chicago negligently allowed barricades or traffic control devices near the accident site to fall into disrepair and failed to inspect the area, according to the suit. The city also failed to warn Sabanovic of the dangerous condition of the land, roadways, barricades, curbs and sidewalks.

The two-count wrongful death suit seeks unspecified damages and court costs.

A spokesperson for the city’s legal department was not immediately available for comment.

City crews on Monday put up blockades at the dropoff where Sabanovic’s car went into the water.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • bnt814

    She was probably texting when she drove into the river

    • najm

      you may be right you would have to be doing something to have not seen that the road was coming to an end. sorry that she lost her life because of this.

  • pontiac_paul

    From an earlier news story, there was a statement about how just before the river drop off on West Blackhawk it is impossible, at night, to see that the river is there. One can see only the street lights across the river, almost like a mirage, and assume that the street continued. Also, because there was a similar accidental drowning just a few years prior directly across the river from where she drowned (and the City did put up barricades there), the city IS negligent.

    Betcha though that they try to squirm outta paying. Hope that her Dad and family have the resolve to see this through.

    My condolences to all that are now grieving her loss.

  • jeff s.

    look at Blackhawk St .at the river on both sides, East and West. and it looks unsafe. check it out on Google maps.

  • Give me a break

    So if I drive off the road into a pond out here in the suburbs and drown, my family can sue the town also? Come on where will it end? Betcha she was texting at the time. So I guess the city will have to put up barricades around the entire Chicago river. Then every town will also have to barricade all the ponds to prevent an idiot from driving in. Hey let’s do all the lakes in IL. why were at it.

    • Vito Corleone

      Hey doofus, when a street leads to a body of water there shouhd be a barricade to prevent people and cars from getting in there.

  • Jim

    Come on people stop all the bashing; he is just trying to live the American Dream which includes suing for spilling hot coffee on your lap, looking for water to “slip” on, etc. It’s the American way of life!

  • zarathrusta

    I think the City Council should pass a law that if you text and drive within 100 feet of the Lake or the River, you must wear scuba gear.

  • Stephanie

    I am sorry to see a life lost but does anyone else realize that this suit was filed within days of finding her? She probably wasn’t even buried yet. Makes me ill.

  • Ya Sure

    Vito, the barricades would have to be for people like you that ae too bright

  • ChicagoCitizen

    Sounds like an attempt at jackpot justice in the land of lawsuits. No cash payout for him.

  • Right

    The question is, is the city negligent? Since there was an accident here before and if the city did not remedy the situation, then it is a legitimate lawsuit. Remember, someone lost their life. This is not the same as the other frivolous lawsuits out there.

    • Jim

      So if I walk out in front of a Metra train I (or my family) should sue Metra because they didn’t put walls around the tracks? It has hit people in the past so they should have acted huh? People need to use common sense and not always think of ways to sue. I feel bad that someone lost a life, but come on already.

  • Gus

    There will have to be toxicology test results to see if she was impaired. There is really no way to know if she was texting at the time of the accident- cell company data can tell if she was on a call, or sending or receiving data, but if she was just typing it’s a mystery.

    Wasn’t there surveillance video of her driving very fast just before she went into the river? If so, I wonder if she was driving to fast to stop if she did see the river. Probably no way to know, since so much time went by between the accident and her being discovered, but maybe there are still skid marks.

  • Chad

    While my heart goes out to the family for their loss, I cannot understand how, just days after losing a loved one, a family can be so quick to cash in on it.
    I quess dollar signs can wipe away the tears in some peoples eyes.

    So often we hear these stories where a lawsuit is in motion before the funeral has even taken place. How can family members even begin to think of such things after a tragic loss?
    Our society has become so tainted that all we can think about is getting revenge and lining our pockets at the cost of others. Nothing has been determined as the cause of this accident. And it was just that, an accident.
    No one told this young woman to drive into the river. Would a concrete barrier there saved her life? Would added signage have helped her? We’ll never know.
    But now that the mourning period is obviously over, let us add yet another thing to an already overloaded court system. And when a dollar settlement is reached, the lawyers have spent their share, make sure you take the balance of what little is left over, roll it up nice and tight, put a band around it, and see if that will fill the void left in your life.

  • cfccc

    Shame on you all girl is desd it it is non of your busyness how suing startet or will end.Shame on you all

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