Robert Clifford of Clifford Law Offices obtained a $10 million settlement on behalf of an Arlington Heights police officer who was severely injured when a speeding hearse ran a red light and rammed his police car while he was on routine patrol Oct. 13, 2000.
Charles Tiedje, 40, had to be removed by rescuers from his car and was airlifted to Lutrheran General Hospital in Park Ridge where he remained in a coma for weeks. He has since gone through extensive rehabilitation and has been able to return to a desk job.
The settlement was reached against Weinstein Family Services which operates a funeral home in Wilmette and Aleksandr Babayev, the driver of the speeding hearse. Clifford discovered shortly after filing a lawsuit that the hearse was equipped with a "black box," similar to what is found in airplanes, that recorded the movements and speed of the hearse.
"Chuck is lucky to be alive today. Had it not been for the local police and fire personnel serendipituously holding a disaster drill nearby, Chuck may not be here today," Clifford said. "The driver of the hearse had lied to authorities about his running the red light which is despicable when you are talking about the life of another person at stake."
Weinstein was represented by Lyndon Molzahn of Menges Molzahn. Judge William Maddux of the Cook County Circuit Court approved the settlement.