Family Of Man Killed In Cruiser Crash To Sue
Victim's Daughter Says They Got No Apology, Only Form Letter
POSTED: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
UPDATED: 9:53 pm EDT March 18, 2009
-- The family of an 86-year-old man who died when his pickup truck was struck by a police cruiser earlier this year plans to sue the sheriff's office and the city.
On Jan. 14, Mathew Ogden Jr. pulled onto Merrill Road into the path of a police cruiser that the Florida Highway Patrol said was going 98 mph while trying to stop a car suspected of a window-tint violation.
Officer Marcus Kilpatrick, who was driving the police cruiser, has been removed from duty during the investigation of the incident.
Investigators are evaluating conflicting reports about whether Kilpatrick had the cruiser's lights and siren on at the time of the crash, but the FHP said there is no dispute about the speed or the reason.
The Ogden family's attorney, Steve Pajcic, called Kilpatrick's actions "inexcusable" and said his behavior should have been immediately condemned by Sheriff John Rutherford.
"There is no possible excuse for an officer going 100 miles per hour in front of an elementary school in the middle of the day in order to allegedly issue a non-moving traffic violation," Pajcic said.
In a news conference two weeks ago, Rutherford offered his condolences to the Ogden family but said he has to wait until all investigations are complete before making a decision on Kilpatrick's future. The family said that was the first time they had heard anyone from the sheriff's office talk about it.
"We were very upset that we didn't get an apology, not even an apology -- an acknowledgement -- from the sheriff's office," said the victim's daughter, Ginger Murphy. "We only got a form letter."
Notice of intent to sue the sheriff's office and city is required six months before a suit can be filed.
Ogden's children said their two primary goals of the lawsuit are to get the sheriff's office to change its policy on officers violating traffic laws during traffic stops and to clear their father's name.
"I didn't want the public to think my dad died because he's 86 years old," Murphy said. "We saw all these blogs and all these unkind things said about he shouldn't have been on the road. He was a very safe driver."
March 5, 2009: Sheriff Addresses Officer Vehicle Policies
February 25, 2009: Man Talks About Father Killed In Crash With Speeding Officer
February 23, 2009: FHP: Officer Going 98 MPH When Man Hit
January 15, 2009: FHP: Elderly Man Killed In Collision With Police Cruiser