Indiana Crash Victim Receives $1M Settlement After Road Rage Incident
SouthtownStar, The (Tinley Park, IL)
May 27—An Indiana woman has been awarded an out-of-court settlement of $1 million following a May 2019 crash in Olympia Fields stemming from a road rage incident that has left her "deathly afraid" of being in a vehicle, her attorney said Wednesday.
Melanie Pryor, 59, of Schererville, has not physically been able to drive since the crash due to injuries she suffered, including multiple rib fractures and a hip injury that required surgery, according to Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, the Chicago law firm that represented her.
A dashboard camera in her personal vehicle captured a few segments before the crash that occurred May 27, 2019, as she was driving west on U.S. 30 near the intersection of West Brookwood Drive in Olympia Fields.
She was in the center lane of the three-lane road and moved to the left lane, after which a driver who had been in the left lane zoomed into the median, pulled up in front of her and stopped his vehicle in traffic, said Rob Kohen, an attorney with the firm.
In a deposition, the driver of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis said "he felt he had been cut off by" Pryor, and the video appears to show the start of what could have been a confrontation with the woman.
The driver got out of his stopped car and approached Pryor, who was behind the wheel of a 2007 Nissan Versa, but the dashcam video a moment later shows him sprinting out of view, Kohen said.
What he saw but what Pryor was unable to see was a semi coming up behind Pryor's car, striking the rear of her vehicle, Kohen said.
The posted speed limit was 45 mph and the semi driver, in a deposition, said he was driving the speed limit, Kohen said.
He said the settlement, approved in Cook County Circuit Court May 6, came before the case was scheduled to go to a jury trial.
The money is being paid by insurance companies for the drivers of both other vehicles involved, Kohen said.
The attorney said he has been involved in many motor vehicle crash cases, and that he was surprised his client survived. Kohen said she will not require additional surgeries but will continue to need follow-up visits with a doctor.
He said that Pryor "has not driven a car since the crash," partly due to ongoing pain that makes working a vehicle pedals difficult. He said she had to rely on family members to drive her to various medical appointments.
Still, Kohen said, Pryor has told him she is unlikely every again to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
"She is deathly afraid of being in a car in general," he said.