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08/25/87 Sandra Dyer, v. American Family Insurance

August 25, 1987

SANDRA DYER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

512 N.E.2d 1071, 159 Ill. App. 3d 766, 111 Ill. Dec. 530 1987.IL.1239

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Lawrence D. Inglis, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE HOPF delivered the opinion of the court. LINDBERG, P.J., and WOODWARD, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HOPF

Plaintiff, Sandra Dyer, filed a complaint for declaratory judgment. In count II of that complaint, plaintiff sought a determination that she was entitled to uninsured motorist coverage under an insurance policy issued by defendant, Ansvar America Insurance Company, to plaintiff's father. Plaintiff sought payment of medical expenses incurred for injuries plaintiff sustained during a kidnapping and high speed chase in an automobile. Both plaintiff and defendant moved for summary judgment on count II. The trial court granted plaintiff's motion and denied defendant's. Defendant appeals.

On July 13, 1985, plaintiff and her friend, Bonnie Cowart, left work shortly after midnight and went to a disco lounge called Crackers. They remained there until closing and then proceeded to the Pit Stop in Zion, arriving at about 2 a.m. and remaining there for 20 to 30 minutes. At approximately 2:20 or 2:30 a.m., the two women sat conversing in Cowart's car in the parking lot of the Pit Stop when a man opened the driver's door and ordered the women at knife point to move over and sit with their heads bent forward between their knees. The abductor then drove out of the parking lot and headed towards Wisconsin at a high rate of speed, keeping the knife at the women's backs and threatening them with harm.

En route to Wisconsin, police vehicles began chasing the car and the abductor sought to elude them. The driver drove in a wild fashion as the women remained in their bent position with their heads below the dashboard. The chase headed back towards the Zion area. Near the intersection of Route 173 and Kenosha Road, the vehicle left the main roadway knocking over three roadway signs on the east side of the road. The driver then traveled back across both lanes of Kenosha Road to the west shoulder before heading back across the road and down a hill, knocking loose some railroad ties which were used as a side embankment. The car appeared airborne and then crashed violently on its wheels. Plaintiff shrieked in pain after the car landed. The passenger door of the car flew open, and plaintiff's legs were hanging out as the abductor continued driving. Plaintiff could not bring her legs back in and complained that she could not move them.

The car was now traveling on the back service drive to the Rolling Hills Nursing Home. As the abductor proceeded around the building, he ran over a tree in the parkway, struck an employee's automobile, drove across the front lawn, down a ditch, and then back up onto Route 173, continuing eastbound. The car was pursued through a residential section of Zion until it came to a stop near a city park. The abductor exited the car and ran away.

During the entire incident, the abductor was driving Cowart's car without her permission as owner. On the date of the kidnapping plaintiff was residing with her father and qualified as an insured under the terms of his policy with defendant. It was undisputed that under part C of that policy plaintiff was a "covered person." The pertinent portion of part C states:

"We will pay damages which a covered person is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of bodily injury:

1. Sustained by a covered person; and

2. Caused by an accident."

In her motion for summary judgment on count II of her complaint for declaratory judgment, plaintiff asserted that as a "covered person," she was entitled to recover under defendant's uninsured motorist coverage since her sustained injuries were caused by an accident which occurred while she was an occupant in an uninsured vehicle. In its motion for summary judgment, defendant maintained that plaintiff's injuries were not caused by accident, as required under the terms of its policy with ...


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