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Michigan to pay $7.7 million to settle wrongful death lawsuit

The state of Michigan has agreed to pay $7.7 million in settlement money over a police chase that killed an innocent bystander. The state Senate voted on Oct. 1 -- with a 30-5 vote -- to amend the state budget to account for $6.7 million in additional lawsuit spending, in order to pay for the settlement. Prior to the amendments the state budget had only allotted $1 million to spend on lawsuits.

The $7.7 million lawsuit was filed by relatives of Jacqueline Nichols, who died on July 3, 2014. The 64-year-old woman was riding in a vehicle that was hit by police car, which was in hot pursuit of a suspect who had allegedly violated state seatbelt ordinances.

According to a statement made by the Michigan State Police, they regret what happened during the car chase, and they hope that the settlement will offer some level of restitution to family members who must suffer in their relative's absence.

According to an attorney representing the family in this wrongful death matter, the victim was killed when a state trooper was speeding down the roadway in pursuit of a fleeing seatbelt law violator. The trooper ran through a blinking red light, failed to stop at a stop sign and eventually drove into the car that the victim was riding in. Allegedly, the trooper was speeding at nearly double the speed limit posted in the area. It is also claimed that the trooper did not properly activate his cruiser's siren to alert other drivers of the potential danger.

Source: MLive.com, "State to pay $7.7M to settle fatal police chase lawsuit," Gary Ridley, Oct. 2, 2015 

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