North Chicago family settles lawsuit over death resulting from cellphone theft

Updated 5/15/2019 4:26 PM

The family of a North Chicago man killed during a cellphone theft in Round Lake Beach in 2017 will receive nearly $800,000 after the settlement of a wrongful-death lawsuit involving two juveniles and their parents.

The family of Trinidad Javier Bueno-Sanchez was awarded $799,000 in the settlement with the parents and insurance companies of the two unidentified Lake County teens who previously pleaded guilty to their role in the April 24, 2017, death.


The names of the teens are being withheld by the Daily Herald because they were charged with the crimes when they were juveniles.

The third person involved in the death, Courtney Sherman, now 20, was dismissed from the lawsuit due to insurance issues, Bueno-Sanchez family attorney David Bawcum said. However, Bawcum said the lawsuit could be refiled against her at a later date.

The settlement was approved May 14 by Lake County Judge Mitchell Hoffman, Bawcum said.

"Because of a cellphone, this family lost a husband, a father and a grandfather," Bawcum said. "While obviously no amount of money can change this incredibly senseless tragedy, based on the limited amount of insurance available to these defendants, the family is pleased with this outcome."

Judge Victoria Rossetti sentenced Sherman to three years in prison on a charge of reckless homicide for her part in the death of 43-year-old Bueno-Sanchez during a botched robbery behind a department store on the 700 block of East Rollins Road. The Illinois Department of Corrections indicates on its website that Sherman has since been released on parole.

Using the name "Jessie," Sherman and the two juveniles used a phone app to arrange a deal to buy a cellphone from Bueno-Sanchez for $450, authorities said.

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After meeting with Sherman and the juveniles in the store parking lot, Bueno-Sanchez gave Sherman the phone in exchange for a sealed envelope that had $450 written on it, authorities said. But when he checked inside the envelope, he found only three $1 bills and Walmart receipts.

When Bueno-Sanchez discovered the ruse, he grabbed the teens' car to question them, authorities said. Sherman told the driver to "go" and the car took off, dragging Bueno-Sanchez, authorities said.

Bueno-Sanchez hung on to the car before falling and striking his head on the pavement, causing a fatal injury.

The juvenile driver and front-seat passenger were charged with reckless homicide and robbery, authorities said. They have also taken plea deals, but the terms of the deals were not disclosed due to their ages.

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