Already awaiting trial for allegedly killing Riverside resident Kathleen Talmage when his car careened out of control and into a Berwyn train depot, Stephen J. Pocina is now being sued by the woman’s husband.
Juan Talancon, who is the administrator of Talmage’s estate, filed a wrongful death suit in the Law Division of Cook County Circuit Court on March 27 seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages for the wrongful death of his wife.
The two-count complaint against Pocina, a 44-year-old former commodities trader from Riverside, claims that his negligent conduct directly led to the death of Talmage, a 40-year employee for the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad, who had just opened the door of the commuter ticket booth at Berwyn’s Harlem Avenue train station at 5:45 a.m. on March 3 when Pocina’s 2004 Range Rover crashed through the station’s east wall.
“Kathleen Talmage was inside the commuter station when said brick wall came down around and upon her, crushing her beneath the weight of the collapsed brick wall, and causing her to suffer tremendous and massive physical and mental pain and injuries,” the suit states.
According to an eyewitness to the incident on March 3, the Range Rover was speeding westbound in the 7100 block of Windsor Avenue toward Harlem Avenue, jumped an earth berm in front of the east side of the station and barreled through the brick wall without braking.
The driver of the vehicle, later identified by police as Pocina, allegedly exited the SUV and fled the scene before police arrived.
For three weeks following the incident, police hunted for Pocina without success. On March 22, with an arrest warrant in hand, police arrested Pocina at his uncle’s condominium in Oakbrook after collecting DNA evidence from Pocina’s Range Rover, his Riverside condo and two family members.
Berwyn police charged Pocina with two felonies, reckless homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. If convicted on both counts, he could face up to 12 years in prison.
Free on $750,000 bond, Pocina will appear for a preliminary hearing in the Cook County Circuit Court at Maybrook on May 3 at 9 a.m. According to Tom Stanton, public information officer for the Cook County State’s Attorney, Pocina will be formally indicted at the hearing.
No court date has been set in connection with the separate wrongful death suit filed by Talancon.