Family sues for involuntary manslaughter after high school teenager is killed in crash caused by ‘reckless’ police officer

An Alabama family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a teenager who was killed in an accident following a police chase. The officer at the wheel during the accident had a history of reckless driving prior to the fatal accident.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday, July 21, in the Circuit Court of Mobile County by Jessica West, the estate of Kenya Marshalette Reed, and all of her heirs. West is the estate’s appointed personal representative, appointed to the role on April 19.

The defendants are being charged with negligence, despondency, recklessness and malice on the basis of Officer Joseph Hand’s driving.

In the lawsuit, the Reed family named the city of Chickasaw and the official as defendants in the lawsuit. Other unspecified parties are also named as defendants because of their connection to the city, the police officer, or the accident.

On January 10, 2021, the day Reed was killed, the former Chickasaw Hand collided with the driver’s side of the McIntosh High School cheerleader and basketball player’s car while she was at the intersection of I-65 and West Lee around 7 a.m Street in Chickasaw stopped at :53 p.m

The lawsuit, announced at a news conference on Thursday, Aug. 4, said Hand was responding to a request for assistance from another police agency when he was traveling at 96 mph in a 30 mph speed zone drove.

“On his way to assist the other officer dealing with a disorderly person, the defendant drove his hand at an unnecessary and unreasonably high speed which ended up in a 30 mph speed zone at West Lee Street in the Proximity to the interstate up to and above 96 miles per hour was 65 just prior to the crash that is the subject of this matter,” the statement said.

It continued, “As Officer Hand recklessly approached the hilly overpass, the late Kenya Reed exited the southbound lanes of Interstate 65 at the southbound exit that intersects with West Lee Street.”

“After stopping at the end of the ramp on the west side of Interstate 65, Ms. Reed began crossing West Lee Street and turning left onto West Lee Street heading east,” the lawsuit reads. “Just as she was beginning to cross the westbound lanes of West Lee Street, Officer Hand came over the overpass hill” and exceeded the limit three times.

The complaint alleges that Reed “did not have an opportunity to complete her crossing onto the east lane of West Lee Street” before she was struck by Hand’s vehicle.

“We understand that things happen that we can’t explain, and we just have to take it with a grain of salt,” said West, Reed’s aunt. “We miss her.”

The Reed family attorney, John Givens of Cochran Firm, wrote: “The conduct of the defendant Hand was outrageous under the circumstances, without reasonable justification.”

Givens said, according to “We’re here today and honestly we shouldn’t be. To be honest, driving like he did that day was inexcusable.”

The officer allegedly had a history of reckless driving while operating his squad car, which was dated well before Reed’s death.

“I can briefly explain this, it is still in the early stages of the complaint and litigation and discovery is ongoing. But there are previous events involving this particular driver in his capacity as a police officer that would leave sane minds that would lead to the conclusion that a, he wasn’t the right person for the job or wasn’t adequately trained for the job ‘ Givens told

In June 2020, he was involved in a serious accident in a Chickasaw police cruiser. According to the allegation, Hand was ordered to end his pursuit of a suspect near 1-64 and Celeste Road and give in to an officer from the Saraland Police Department to lead the pursuit.

SPD official Christopher Ramey did not give in to Hand.

Instead, the lawsuit states, he continued to pursue the suspect and crashed into Ramey’s vehicle. An investigation found that Hand had not used his emergency lights while pursuing the suspect, the complaint said.

Givens suggests that the city is solely responsible for the behavior of its officers and should be aware of how reckless Hand was in operating police vehicles and take steps to better train him or discourage him from becoming a “danger to the general public.” to be public”.

Because the city was “careless in the training and instruction of the Hand,” Reed’s recklessness struck deep, causing serious injuries that resulted in her death.

Hand was originally charged in Reed’s death, but the case was dropped in February 2022. A grand jury indicted Hand with involuntary manslaughter, but the case fell because the Mobile County District Attorney’s office moved quickly enough to file an indictment.

The prosecutor’s office had to secure the indictment within a year of the January 10, 2021 accident. A judge hand-concurred with the defense that prosecutors had exceeded the statute of limitations by failing to file charges in a timely manner.

The family is seeking a trial by jury, seeking unspecified damages for the young woman’s wrongful death, costs and expenses associated with the case, and attorneys’ fees.

West wanted to know that the teenager was more than just a crash victim.

“Kenya was a daredevil. Whatever she set out to do, she did it,” West said at a news conference last week.

Neither the Mobile County District Attorney’s office nor the Chickasaw Police Department have released a statement regarding the lawsuit. Family sues for involuntary manslaughter after high school teenager is killed in crash caused by ‘reckless’ police officer

James Brien

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