New Lenox Family Sues Cook County Sheriff's Department
Mejia family claims that deputies disrobed their daughter's body by the roadside and took photographs after a fatal DUI accident, Sun-Times Media reports.
Jessica Mejia, 20, of New Lenox died in a car wreck on New Year's Eve 2009 when her boyfriend lost control of an SUV.
In a lawsuit filed today, Dec. 30, the family is accusing Cook County sheriff's deputies who arrived on scene of removing the young woman's clothes in the aftermath of the crash on 147th Street near Oak Park Avenue and taking nude photographs of her body, according to a Sun-Times Media report.
"The suit claims police acted without medical justification in view of passersby and onlookers and did not follow their guidelines or those of the county medical examiner's office. Police officers 'failed to treat decedent with the dignity and the respect due her by removing her clothes, by photographing her nude body in various positions, none of which were required by protocol,' according to the suit, which seeks more than $200,000 for 'severe and extreme distress.'"
Mejia was a Lincoln-Way Central High School graduate.
Jessica's mother, Christina Mejia, wrote an essay about losing her daughter on the website of the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.
"My heart is forever broken and the pain of NEVER seeing Jessica or hearing her beautiful voice saying, 'I love you so much mom,' is the most awful , empty and saddest pain you can imagine," she wrote.
Update Friday, 4:08 p.m.
A Cook County Sheriff's Department spokesman issued the following statement Friday:
"From the moment our officers arrived upon the scene of this horrific crash one year ago, we have worked hard to provide justice to the family of the victim. ... We've never before heard of the bizarre scenario this lawsuit describes.
"There were multiple independent witnesses on the scene that night and crime scene photographs taken which would have prevented the scenario described from happening. We're sorry for the family's loss."