$75K settlement after crash with Van Buren Co. deputy

A dash cam image from just before a sheriff's office cruiser collided with another car in Bloomingdale on March 28, 2015.

PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — Van Buren County has settled with the mother of the teen whose car was struck by a sheriff’s deputy as he rushed to join a police chase in March 2015.

24 Hour News 8 previously reported that the county agreed to pay the Jelsomeno family $75,000 after the crash involving Deputy Todd Oliver according to information received from the Van Buren County administrator. However, an attorney for the Jelsomeno family, Paul Vlachos, told 24 Hour News 8 the settlement was with the teen’s mother, Sarah Jelsomeno, and did not cover claims of her son, Ethan, who was severely injured in the crash.

Vlachos said Ethan’s claim is still pending.

Oliver reached 122 mph as he sped to join a police chase, even though he had not received permission. As he drove along West Kalamazoo Street in Bloomingdale with his lights and siren activated, he crashed into the Jelsomenos’ car as it turned left into a driveway.

Ethan Jelsomeno, 16, was critically injured. After the crash, he was put into a medically induced coma so doctors could remove part of his skull and ease pressure on his brain. The traumatic brain injury caused him to miss months of school, sports and a trip to Italy.

The family’s attorney says Ethan is expected to undergo surgery in July.

The cruiser involved in the March crash.
The cruiser involved in the March crash.

Records showed the wreck was the second time in two years that Oliver had crashed after joining a chase in Van Buren County without permission. He also has a history of crashes and speeding tickets dating back to the 1990s, Target 8 found.

Oliver was not ticketed or charged in connection to the crash involving the Jelsomenos. He has since been reassigned to other duties within the department.

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