14-Jan-17 The taxi driver who accidentally ran over Marques Gaines as he lay unconscious in the street outside a convenience store in River North, nearly one year ago, has settled in the lawsuit filed by Marques family against multiple parties.
Gaines, a 32-year-old bartender at Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, was at the 7-Eleven at State & Hubbard Streets on February 7, 2016, just after 4 a.m.
A stocky man with a beard who had been turned away from the store by a security guard got into a shouting match with the guard and with Marques as he left the store. The shouting escalated to violence and the man struck Marques in the back of the head, knocking him unconscious into the street, where he was run over by a Globe Taxi driven by Mehdi Seyftolooi. Gaines was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital but died four hours later of multiple blunt force injuries.
(Left) Photo of suspect in Marques Gaines homicide. (Click on image to view larger version.)
The settlement was approved by a probate court on November 1, 2016, according to Evan Smola, an attorney with Hurley McKenna & Mertz, the law firm representing the family. He says they are still suing 7-Eleven, Inc., based in Dallas, and its local franchise, Kala 1341, Inc.
We are conducting discovery on both parties now as to the security procedures they have in place, said Smola (right).
The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court claims negligence and wrongful death.
The complaint says 7-Eleven failed to properly train its employees to keep patrons safe, failed to provide properly trained security personnel during late-night hours of operation, and failed to assist a customer as he lay unconscious in the street after being attacked by a patron ejected from the store by 7-Eleven security.
Corner has history of late-night crime
Last April, attorney Christopher Hurley said 7-Eleven is aware of criminal activity near the store, especially late at night, and knew of the assailant from previous incidents. City records, he said, show numerous assaults and robberies within one block of the store.
In July, Hurleys firm subpoenaed 911 call logs to Chicago Police Department involving the 7-Eleven since 2010 and got back 1,100 records printed on 33 pages. On February 7, 2016, there were three 911 calls to police the call about Marques, an unrelated disturbance at 4:43 p.m., and a call at 7:51 p.m. to say police were not needed.
During the entire year, according to police records, there were 123 incidents in the 400 block of North State Street, where the 7-Eleven is located, more than any other year on that block since 2002. An arrest was made in 20 percent of the cases. Theft accounted for one-third of the incidents.
(Above) 7-Eleven at corner of State & Hubbard, next door to Mother Hubbards Sports Pub with its dark red awning.
No arrest, but suspect may be known to police
The family believes they and authorities know the identity of the man who assaulted Marques.
||We actually had an investigator that helped us find him, said Marques cousin, Drexina Nelson (left). We found out who he was. He matches the description. They found out from people in the area who he was.
Police have not made an arrest and although the family receives updates, Nelson says they are frustrated with progress of the investigation.
Theyre really making it difficult for the family. Weve never dealt with anything like this so we dont really know what to do.
Lionel Craft, an investigator for Cook County States Attorneys Office, who was previously a Special Agent for the FBI in Houston for 23 years, referred questions from Loop North News to Chicago Police Department but CPD did not respond.