Chicago taxpayers are likely on the hook to pay a $1.5 million settlement to a bicyclist who suffered brain damage and other injuries that left him with quadriplegia when he crashed into a barricade guarding a sunken catch basin in a late-night accident in the Wicker Park neighborhood.
Brian Baker was 23 years old when he hit the barricade in June 2009 while biking around 1:45 a.m. near Wabansia and Damen avenues, just north of the six-way intersection in the Wicker Park neighborhood, according to city attorney Leslie Darling.
Baker, who had just graduated from college with a degree in sports marketing, had been drinking and was not wearing a helmet when he crashed, suffering brain damage and other injuries, Darling said. He now requires long term care, she said.
The barricade had been set up by the city to mark a catch basin that had started to collapse and left a depression in the street at that location, Darling said.
The City Council Finance Committee approved the $1.5 million settlement for Baker, and the full City Council will consider the issue Wednesday.
The Finance Committee also voted to give a $350,000 settlement to Sandra Franke, who severely broke her ankle in February 2010 when she stepped on a crack with exposed wires on the Adams Street bridge. Franke has required several surgeries and continues to have problems with her mobility, Darling said.