Family Sues State Police After Woman Killed On Ike

Updated 09/07/11 – 9:05 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The family of a Chicago woman who was struck and killed on the Eisenhower Expressway last week has filed a lawsuit against Illinois State Police, who dropped the woman off at a gas station a couple hours after she was arrested for drunk driving.

Diana Paz was arrested early last Friday after driving the wrong way on the Eisenhower and failing field sobriety tests. She bonded out a couple hours later and, after telling police she had no family or means of getting home, she asked for a ride to a nearby gas station.

About half an hour later, authorities were notified that she had been struck by a vehicle on the Eisenhower.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, her family said police never shouldn’t have released her in her condition and now they want answers.

“We really don’t know what really happened, or how it happened,” said Maria Paz, Diana’s sister, after the family filed the lawsuit on Wednesday. “It seems like it is not fair for her, for our family, for her, for this … for her to end like this.”

Diana Paz’s life ended on the Eisenhower Expressway last Friday. Hours earlier, she was pulled over at 3:23 a.m. on Sept. 2 for driving in the wrong direction on I-290. She refused a breathalyzer and failed a field sobriety test.

People who celebrated Diana’s birthday with her earlier that night told her family that Diana had been drinking heavily that night.

Paz was taken into custody and brought to the Westchester Police Department. She bonded out at 5:40 a.m. the same day.

An Illinois State Police spokesperson said Paz signed herself out with an I-bond. She asked police to take her to a nearby BP gas station. Moments later, the 25-year-old mother was walking in a marked median area on the Eisenhower Expressway. That’s when she was hit by a truck driver and killed.

“She was my other half. She was my best friend,” Maria Paz said. “We just want the answers that we’re looking for. Why did this happen? Why did they let this happen? We just want justice.”

“They should have kept her until she was sober, not until … just because she requested to be dropped off at a gas station,” she added.

Illinois State Police said Diana Paz was alert and coherent at the time of her release. State police are not required to transport motorists, but as a courtesy, officers will transport stranded motorists within a reasonable distance. There’s no policy requiring Illinois state police to do this.

“We’ll see what the protocol is for the state police in dropping off young girls after they’ve been arrested for DUI,” said Paz family attorney Tim Cavanagh. “My guess is that they violated their protocol and that they’re going to be held accountable for that.”

Cavanagh filed a motion on Wednesday for all evidence in the case to be preserved – meaning all medical records and video at the BP gas station where Paz was dropped off.

Cavanagh said he believes the video will show that Paz was intoxicated when she left the gas station.

  • agentandy

    Reading this story just doesn’t make sense. I have a feeling she was still intoxicated when dropped off. But who’s fault is it? Did the police have a reason to hold her legally? IF not, then they cannot be held accountable for her actions afterwards.. Bottom line: it is very sad to hear that she was struck and kiled. That shouldn’t have happened.

  • billyd

    Disgusting greedheads. When will people begin accepting responsibility for their own actions?

    • Roberta Waker

      Right. Another frivolous lawsuit that will cost the taxpayers money to defend. The family deserves NOTHING. If they were so concerned about her, they should have seen to it that she got home safely; now all they want is money.

  • TD

    What a crock! This is not the police department’s fault.

  • unknown

    may this woman r.i.p. but..has she even been laid to rest yet?

  • Tanya Livingston

    The State Police did nothing wrong here. They owed her no futher duty; they are not a Holdiday Inn for drunks or criminal DUI motorists. 1. Who is the pnadering attorney to allow this media coverage? 2. Why did this family get an attorney so quickly? 3. What did this lady blow and what are the absorbtion rates. 4. How is dropping a woman off at a lighted gas station negligent? I can understand what the CPD did to that Mentally Illil woman by dumping her in crime ridden neighborhood is negligent, but not this.

    • george

      the article says she refused to blow so there isn’t a record of her BAC.

      • Centurion

        Thats one of the few times she refused to blow. Just ask the Latin Kngs in her hood!

  • the rest of the bs

    she was out of control why?walking down ike means she put in a effort to be stupid


    Let’s reward STUPIDITY!!! She’s a minority and you can bet your @ ss the state will settle to avoid ticking off more democratic voters!!!

  • James Omalley

    the fam wants money thats it ,,, . sad r i p she killed herself

  • Just Axin

    She was pulled over for driving the wrong direction on the 290. Maybe she went back to get a closer look at which way the cars are going? Thank goodness she wasn’t a sista who was let go as there would be riots at the police station.

  • Centurion

    I was on the Eisenhower when she was driving THE WRONG WAY. I had to swerve…or she would have killed me.
    I am gonna file a lawsuit against her family. She caused me great emotional distress. I am now afraid to drive , I am in fear of STUPID DRUNKEN IDIOTS who like to drive drunk. I want 1 MILLION Dollars from her family because of emotional distress.

  • Rick

    You can not hold a person in jail because they are intoxicated. Drunk tanks do not exist. Once she was processed for DUI she has a right to bond, which she was afforded. The State Police had no authority to hold her. They took her to a public location. They did not drop her off in the middle of I 290.

  • Lisa Ladonski

    I don’t think the police are at fault here. She bonded out, the police are not responsible for holding her until she sobers up! If she and her family were so close, then why weren’t they around to pick her up?

  • TJ

    I always love how the “so called family” bonds together to sue someone after the accident, instead of being there for her before the accident. So touching.

  • Guest

    While I really do feel bad that this woman had a horrible, tragic death, I don’t see how the police are responsible for it. The Police did their job by getting her off the road when she was going the wrong direction. She could have killed someone. This idea that we have to protect grown adults from themselves has got to stop. It’s part of the dumbing down of America. It’s like saying, “I’m too dumb to make my own decisions, so make the decisions for me.”

  • LJ

    How about the lawyer! His cash register is working as well as the family’s! Her friends and family cared so much about her that they aloud her drive after “drinking heavily”. Oh…let us forget she is a mother! How irresponsible for a parent to go out heavily drinking and get behind the wheel of a car. The only negligent party is her. I am sorry that the family has to suffer the loss but holding the police responsible is ludicrous! They should be ashamed of them selves.
    Who wants to join me in suing the friends and family on behalf of the children for their negligence in allowing their mother to go out drinking and then driving!

  • Linda

    The judge should throw out the lawsuit and not let it go forward, thereby saving the taxpayers money. I can’t believe all the ignorant judges anymore letting all this stupidity in the courts like they don’t have real cases to hear. Sad the girl died but where was the family to take her keys so she couldn’t drive, they are the ones at fault here.

  • Tanya Livingston

    At what point are the State Police responsible to her? What if someone picked her up at the BP Station and then that driver had a fatal collision? What if the State Police dropped her off at home and she cracked her head open on the stairs? What is the zone of danger? We could argue that WBBM is responsible because they provide traffic information and if they had noticed her walking on the IKE, they could have warned motorists. Where does the chain of causaation stop?

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