Judge Awards $44.7 Million to Family of Slain Chicago Rideshare Driver

2 min readApr 12, 2024


Champaign County Judge Awards $44.7 Million to Family of Slain Chicago Rideshare Driver

CHICAGO — On Friday, April 12, 2024, the Hon. Judge Benjamin W. Dyer awarded $44,724,193 to the family of the slain Chicago rideshare driver, Kristian Philpotts, following a damages hearing, against the victim’s alleged killer and the alleged killer’s mother.

Philotts’ family, of Chicago, filed a wrongful death lawsuit, in Champaign County, alleging that Tyjohn Williams shot Philpotts during a rideshare ride.

The lawsuit alleged that, on January 12, 2022, Tyjohn Williams, now 18, of Champaign, allegedly requested the ride using his mother’s rideshare account. Shortly after Tyjohn Williams and his two associates entered Philpotts’ vehicle, Tyjohn Williams allegedly drew a gun and shot Philpotts in the back. Philpotts died shortly thereafter.

Tyjohn Williams was charged with murder and his criminal case is ongoing.

Philpotts, 29 at the time, was working to save money for veterinarian school.

Philpotts’ mother, Marla Rice, alleged that Tyjohn Williams’ mother, Tia Williams, was also legally responsible for Philpotts’ death. Rice’s allegations against Tia Williams were brought pursuant to Illinois’ Parental Responsibility Law, 740 ILCS 115, which allows the parent of a minor to be held liable for damages caused by the minor child’s willful or malicious acts. This approach may serve as a method for holding parents of teenaged carjackers, armed robbers, and the like responsible for their children’s criminal acts.

Rice retained the personal injury law firm LegalRideshare LLC to represent her family.

LegalRideshare co-founder and attorney Bryant Greening said the Court’s judgment is an important victory for victims of violent crimes. “Criminals must be held accountable when they destroy lives, families and communities,” Greening said. “KP and his family suffered an unimaginable loss. While this award does not bring KP back, it does serve as a source of justice.”

During the hearing, Philpott’s friends and family offered testimony as to Philpotts’ character and spirit. “KP was a smart, motivated, compassionate, and loving person,” Greening said. “Thanks to today’s award, those facts are forever written into the public record.”

The Rice family will seek collection on the judgment from Tyjohn Williams and Tia Williams.




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