MRB attorney Rip Andrews argued in Madison County Circuit Court Friday that a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the widow of Marshall Space Flight Center engineer Darren Spurlock should be allowed to move forward to a jury. The lawsuit stems from a 2008 high speed police chase; the driver fleeing drug squad agents was traveling about 90 mph when she ran a red light and crashed into Spurlock, killing him.
During a hearing on motions for summary judgments, Andrews argued that members of the Madison-Morgan County Strategic Counterdrug Team, "STAC", violated city policy and state law when they pursued a woman who was apparently involved in a low-level drug deal on May 30, 2008. The City of Huntsville's policy on pursuits advises if the danger to the public outweighs the need for immediate apprehension of a suspect, officers should not begin a pursuit or should immediately terminate the chase. Andrews argued "this chase spanned more than 11 miles, including more than 4 miles from the entrance to the Redstone Arsenal to the crash site. This gave the defendants multiple opportunities throughout the chase to terminate the chase and save Darren Spurlock's life."
The wrongful death suit claims that the high speed chase led to the fatal crash between the drug suspect and Spurlock. Attorneys for the City of Huntsville and three members of STAC argued that they didn't cause Spurlock's death and that the agents' conduct was protected under state agent immunity.
The motions remain pending before Madison County Circuit Judge Chris Comer.
To read more:
Al.com, "Huntsville, drug squad agents want lawsuit out over chase that killed NASA engineer", April 11, 2013
Al.com, "Madison County jduge weighs throwing out lawsuit over police chase that killed NASA engineer", April 12, 2013