The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mills, District Judge:
The fleeing criminal suspect hits decedent's car.
Her administrator sues the police.
The police all move for summary judgment.
Jurisdiction is premised upon diversity of citizenship,
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)*fn4, and Illinois substantive law governs. Erie
Railroad Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S.Ct. 817, 82 L.Ed.
Now before the Court are the Defendant police officers' motions
for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. The underlying events
appear not in dispute. Rather, the query is whether such
circumstances give rise to genuine issues of material fact
regarding (1) the officers' alleged breach of the appropriate
care standard, and (2) the proximate cause of the deceased's
The Court finds that they do not. Summary judgment is proper.
At approximately 6:00 a.m. on May 8, 1982, Springfield Police
Officers John Greenan and Harland Sanders responded separately to
a report of theft in progress at the OK Corral, a used car lot
near the intersection of Taylor Avenue and Stevenson Drive in the
southeast corner of the city. According to the complaint, both
men observed the suspect, later identified as Wayne Mudd, enter
a green Mercury Marquis and begin to flee. Siren and lights
activated, Officer Greenan pursued Mudd north on Taylor, followed
by Officer Sanders. Subsequently, the pursuit proceeded east on
South Grand Avenue, southeast on Rochester Road, and south on
Dirksen Parkway. Returning to Stevenson Drive, the accused then
advanced west to Sixth Street, where he traveled north. (See
Appendix.) During this period, both patrolmen were in constant
communication with the city's dispatch officer. Greenan relayed
the suspect's license number and requested assistance.
As a result, County Officer Thomas Hendrickson, accompanied in
his squad car by Sergeant Damon Barley, received notice of the
pursuit via the Illinois State Police Emergency Radio Network.
Proceeding to the intersection of Sixth and Ash Streets, they
joined in a roadblock with two city units.
Apparently spotting the barrier, Mudd turned west onto Cornell
Avenue, one block south of Ash. Unable to make the corner,
Officer Greenan progressed north to Ash where his attempted left
turn resulted in the police car striking the curb. His vehicle
inoperable, Greenan abandoned the chase.
In the meantime, Officer Sanders had advanced west onto Broad
Place, one street prior to Cornell, hoping to cut off the fleeing
suspect. He then heard over the radio that Mudd was northbound on
Fourth Street. Having lost his quarry, Sanders shut off his siren
and slowed down. He, too, abandoned the chase.
Officer Hendrickson and Sergeant Barley, however, continued the
pursuit when Mudd averted the roadblock. Followed by city officer
Scott Allin, the county car proceeded to Cornell, becoming the
lead unit behind the suspect. According to Allin, the chase
endured at a speed of approximately 45 m.p.h.*fn5 Both cars
activated their emergency equipment — flashing lights and sirens.
Within a few seconds, Mudd had gained over a one block lead on
Officer Hendrickson. Officer Allin reported that when the county
car reached Laurel Street, on which the suspect had proceeded
west, both patrolmen had lost sight of the Mercury. Allin then
terminated his emergency apparatus and withdrew from the hunt.
The uncontradicted police report filed by Officer Hendrickson
and supported by his deposition describes the final seconds of
Mudd's nine mile adventure:
R/O [Reporting Officer] turned onto Cornell just in
time to see Mudd turn north on 4th St. R/O almost
came to a dead stop at 5th St. due to parked vehicles
on 5th St. blocking R/O's view. R/O then proceeded
across 5th St. to 4th St. As R/O turned north on 4th,
R/O saw Mudd's vehicle already across Ash St. and
still proceeding north at a high rate of speed on 4th
St. R/O approached Ash and again came to almost a
complete stop as two (2) autos were approaching side
by side on Ash from the west. These two (2) vehicles
stopped and R/O crossed Ash still northbound on 4th.
R/O then saw the Mudd vehicle turn west on Laurel.
Immediately Sgt. Barley reported, on County channel
one (1) that the suspect vehicle was westbound on
Laurel. R/O then said, "we've lost him, Damen". When
the Mudd vehicle turned west on Laurel, R/O had just
crossed Ash St. At that time R/O believed that the
only chance of keeping track of the vehicle was if
another officer was on Laurel and could see the Mudd
vehicle. R/O proceeded to Laurel on 4th and looked
west but did not see the Mudd vehicle on Laurel. R/O