By: John Cheves, kentucky.com
Police can be sued for damages when their car chases lead to the death or injury of third parties, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday, overturning its own landmark 1952 decision that had granted blanket immunity to police after a crash.
In the case at hand, the high court allowed the children of Luis Gonzalez to return to Fayette Circuit Court and sue Scott County Sheriff Tony Hampton and Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Johnson for damages related to his death.
Gonzalez, 62, died in 2014 when a suspected drug dealer being chased by Johnson crashed head-on into his vehicle on Georgetown Road in Lexington. “A litany of things went wrong with the pursuit,” the court said, including wet, slippery roads; a restless police dog poking his head into the front of the car where Johnson sat, steering; and a broken siren on Johnson’s car.