A federal lawsuit in Oklahoma County involving a death on the interstate caused by a police officer has been recently settled for $500,000. The suit was brought by the daughter of the deceased in 2015 on behalf of her father for wrongful death.
The incident in question occurred on January 27, 2014. Robert B. Porter, 66, was severely injured when a police officer slammed into his truck on the interstate. The deputy, Jacob Owen Streeter, was traveling at the speed of 108 mph on Interstate 35 without using his patrol car's emergency lights or sirens to warn other drivers of his speed. Not only was Streeter traveling at high speeds in the dark without appropriate precautionary measures, he was also typing on his onboard computer at the time of the crash, according to the lawsuit.
According to an investigation by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Streeter was checking the tags of a white Dodge Charger which had passed him without its lights on. He was most likely typing this information into the computer at the time of the accident and was probably distracted by this activity.
Unsurprisingly, Streeter hit Porter's pickup truck from behind, sending him off the interstate where it rolled multiple times until it came to a stop upside-down in a stand of trees. Porter died a little over three weeks later from the effects of injuries he sustained in the violent crash. The lawsuit claimed negligence, recklessness, and a lack of appropriate training by the county. County Commissioner Brian Maughan stated publicly that the accident "was a great tragedy, and there's no question the county was at fault."
This was actually not the first time that Streeter had hit another vehicle while operating as a sheriff's deputy. In 2009, Streeter collided with a car on the interstate which had slowed down in a construction zone. The driver, in this case, was taken to the hospital but released with no signs of injury.
Streeter has already faced criminal charges for negligent homicide for the most recent incident, for which he pleaded no contest in July of 2015. He was fined $250, put on probation for two years, and required to complete 50 hours of community service to help education new law enforcement members about the dangers and risks associated with high-speed police activity. In addition, he was barred for six months from operating law enforcement vehicles in “emergency mode.”
The attorney for Porter's daughter stated that he “hopes their father's untimely and unfortunate death will be a reminder to all law enforcement agencies of the need for adequate and appropriate training of its officers to avoid another tragic loss of life.”
Motor vehicle accidents can come out of nowhere, destroying families and taking lives senselessly. If you believe another driver was acting with a disregard for your life or the life of a loved one, it might be time to take legal action. Call the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal today to discuss the details of your case. We can be reached online or by phone at (303) 825-2223.