Local officer sues state police over deadly crash
PRINCETON, W.Va. (AP) — A city police officer in West Virginia is suing state police over a crash that stemmed from a multi-unit police chase and killed another officer.
Bluefield police Sgt. Joseph Danieley on Feb. 28 filed a complaint against West Virginia State Police and Trooper K.A. Filer in connection with the May 2017 crash, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported .
The lawsuit alleges the death of Bluefield Lt. Aaron Crook and injuries to then-K-9 Office Danieley were caused by negligent and careless behavior on the part of officers “approaching the location at excessive speeds and colliding with the police cruisers already at the scene.” Danieley and Crook were attempting to detain a suspected drunken driver at the time.
Danieley’s injuries included cervical spinal fractures, disc lesions and knee and nerve damage, according to the complaint.
In a report following the conclusion of the agency’s investigation, State Police Deputy Superintendent Lt. Col. D.L. Bowles wrote the crash was caused by multiple factors, including “the circumstances of the fleeing vehicle, location and lighting.” He said Wednesday he couldn’t comment on pending litigation.
The exact sequence of events leading to the casualties is not clearly or consistently delineated in news reports, but the multi-vehicle crash involved Bluefield cruisers and state police cruisers.
Charges against 27-year-old Morgan Smith Walker in connection with the incident were dismissed, after body-camera footage showed he wasn’t the driver of the fleeing vehicle. Now, 24-year-old Joseph William Smith is charged with DUI causing death in the incident.
Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, http://www.bdtonline.com