Despite deputy’s acquittal, Bachman tragedy costly for the county
By Stuart R. Wahlin
During a special meeting Sept. 14, the Winnebago County Board voted unanimously to approve $15.5 million for the settlement of two civil lawsuits that came as the result of a fatal accident involving a Winnebago County Sheriff’s deputy in 2006.
Deputy Joseph Boomer was acquitted last year of criminal charges stemming from the accident, which killed Aaron and DJ Bachman, while leaving sister Kori with brain damage.
Kori was driving the Bachman vehicle when it was struck at high speed by Deputy Boomer’s squad car as the Bachmans proceeded across West State Street from Weldon Road, where a number of other serious accidents have occurred.
In civil court, lawsuits were filed by parents Frank and Kim Bachman, and by Lindsey Bachman, Aaron’s widow.
The Bachman parents were awarded a $12.5 million settlement, and Lindsey was awarded $3 million.
A third lawsuit related to DJ’s death is still pending.
The county’s insurance covers only $5 million of the settlement, and the sale of alternative revenue bonds is being considered for the remaining $10.5 million.
Meantime, a bill referred to as Bachman’s Law has passed the Illinois House, but has stalled in the state Senate.
The bill would establish statewide protocol for use of emergency lights and sirens by officers during high-speed responses.During the 2006 accident, Boomer was responding to a call at high speed while using neither.
From the September 16-22, 2009 issue
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