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Inheritors Debt

Husband Asked Officer for Ride Home Killed By Hit and Run Driver

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A little over three years ago, my spouse of twenty years was mowed down by a 16 yr old that had only been driving a couple of weeks. We were living in Oklahoma at the time and were on our way home from eating out when my husband began to have a TIA (transient Ichemic attack). We pulled over to a gas station to get fuel when I told him that he should not drive the remainder of the way home. Shortly before turning into the station my husband was driving down the middle of the road. An argument ensued and while trying to fill the tank up my husband was having difficulty so I took over. After refuelingI realized he was already on his way home walking on foot. My husband was a fragile diabetic and as a result had a prosthetic on his right leg. I pulled over to insist he get into the truck but he became very abusive verbally and I was forced to try and get help from the local police. I did not know where the local police station was located but I noticed three police cars in the gas station parking lot. I went inside and interuppted three officers having there coffee and begged them to go get my husband because walking down route 66 where the speeds were anywhere from 55 up, I knew how it might end. They called another officer out that I had to wait for and that officer stated that he saw my husband and that my husband had flagged him down and asked him for a ride to the county line but that officer told him he was on his way to a traffic stop for someone that had been speeding and could not take him, (shortly after the incident I was told that officer was relieved of his duties). Supposedly three cars went out looking(it WAS daylight) but could not find my husband and I was told to go back to the town that I lived in and file a report so I did while on the way home looking for my husband all to no avail. Upon attempting to file the complaint in the one horse town I lived in I was told NO that I needed to return and file in the town where it took place. I had to wait for dispatch to call a sheriff so time was wasted when I could have been looking for my husband. Upon driving back to the gas station where I had initially spoken to the police I came upon many cars pulled over to the side of the road and when I asked "If the person sitting in the back of the squad was my husband" I was told to follow to the end of the line, shut my vehicle off and WAIT.  I was not permitted out of my vehicle and they even placed a person next to each door to prevent my attempting to exit and I  was not told for several minutes that my husbands body lie there. It was not untilI tried to get out of my truck that they stopped me and told me that the area was being treated as a crime scene and that my husband was DEAD! Long story short.....it was a hit and run but I was told that the police recognized the mirror from a truck that lay near my husbands head and that they knew who had hit him. Nothing was done until the following morning when they went to the boys school and pulled him out. I was ALSO told what a GOOD boy he was and that he was working towards a football scholarship, good grades and all. From what I was told there was not even an overnight stay in the local jail, license taken away or nothing! I was not permitted to come to the police station for nearly one-two weeks later when they would be "ready" to interview  me. I was in a state of shock and did not realize that they may be covering thier own butts. There was no insurance money that my husband had so I was forced to hire one of the  places that only charge you if they get you funds. They SUED MY insurance company!  Long story short do I have anything to file a civil suit against the police department of this small town? Should I have? I felt at the time it was wrong but since then I have been told that this boy also had a close relative on the department.I was even call by the District Attorneys office and told I should "forgive" him so that he could go on with his life. What about MY life WITHOUT my husband? What about the daughter and three grandchildren he left behind? What about HIS mother? What about his three stepchildren and those grandkids? 

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It is not clear in which state the death of your husband occurred.  However, if it happened in Oklohoma, The statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years so there is no action you can take against the town or its police department. 

 

It is also not clear why your attorneys at the time sued your insurer.  The suit is filed against the driver at fault, not the insurer.  I suspect what you mean is that the youth did not have insurance and your attorney made a claim and filed suit to collect on your uninsured/under insured coverage.

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1 hour ago, Inheritors Debt said:

do I have anything to file a civil suit against the police department of this small town?

 

Not that I could tell (although your post is quite convoluted).  You wrote that your husband was walking (apparently in the middle of the road) and was hit by a car driven by a high school student.  Why would you think the police should be responsible for that?  Aside from the merits, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years, so it's too late now.

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On 9/20/2019 at 2:32 PM, Inheritors Debt said:

There was no insurance money that my husband had so I was forced to hire one of the  places that only charge you if they get you funds. They SUED MY insurance company!  Long story short do I have anything to file a civil suit against the police department of this small town? Should I have?

 

My condolences on the death of your husband. Although it happened several years ago, I'm sure it's still very painful for you.

 

When someone is injured or killed through the negligence of someone else the usual thing the victim or his family does is hire a personal injury lawyer to sue the negligent person for compensation. It is standard for most personal injury attorneys to take these cases on a contingent fee, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid if the lawyer succeeds in getting compensation for the injury. So what you did in going to a  personal injury lawyer is how these things go. The lawyer then would determine which persons, if any, could be successfully sued for the injury. As a result, if there was a good claim to make against the police or the kid I expect you lawyer would have pursued that.

 

The problem with suing the police is that the police had no obligation to your husband to do anything before the accident. He asked a police officer to drive him somewhere, but the police are not a taxi cab company and are not obligated to drive citizens around. If the officer could see that your husband was in serious medical distress the officer should have called for medical help. But from what you describe it may not have been apparent to the officer that your husband was having any medical difficulty.

 

It's also not clear if the kid was negligent or not. Just because the kid hit your husband does not automatically make the kid responsible. From what you stated, your husband was apparently walking down the middle of Route 66, a highway where the speeds can be 55 mph or more. Depending on the details of the roadway and the conditions existing at the time, it may not have been possible for the kid to see your husband in time to avoid hitting him. If the kid could not have avoided hitting him then the kid is not liable for the injury. Even if the kid might have been negligent, there is also the issue of contributory negligence by your husband. He should not have been walking in the middle of a highway. His own negligence would work against getting a judgement against the kid, or at least may have reduced the amount of the judgment. There is also the issue of whether the kid had any money or assets from which to collect a judgment. If the kid had no insurance and no assets then a judgment would do you no good.

 

If your insurance covered it and the insurance company was balking at paying then the insurance company may be sued to collect from your insurance company, which is apparently what you lawyer did for you. That may have been the only recourse you had here. Again, I'd have expected your lawyer to go after the kid or the police if there was something worth pursuing against them. But for the reasons I've discussed, there may simply have not been anything to get by doing that.

 

In any event, as the others have pointed out, it appears the statute of limitations (SOL) to sue for this is now expired. If the SOL is expired then it's too late now to sue.

 

Unfortunately, your husband was doing something dangerous. And while I understand the desire to blame others for his death, his own actions certainly contributed to his death. He ought not have been on that road. I know that's not easy to accept. But coming to some peace on that may help you to get some closure on this.

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Thank you for your reply! My husband was wearing a prosthetic device, it was daylight and he was wearing bright clothing. I did not say he was in the middle of the street....noone knows this. I asked the police to find him after he refused to get back into the car because at the time he exited out of our vehicle I believe he was having a TIA. He was a very fragile diabetic. Im almost relieved time has run out for me to pursue anything because I never even felt right at the thought of it. I believe your reply is that only thing that may give me some closure. His family disowned me because they felt I was responsible for letting him walk away (he was 6 3" and 280 lbs)  and I HAVE felt responsible! I went to the police that were only a few yards away but they laughed and said I was hysterical....by the time they got into thier cars and went looking they could not find him.  You are RIGHT about him having to be aware of the dangers. He is gone and nothing can bring him back. Thank you and God bless you & yours.

Edited by Inheritors Debt
Mispelling-needed to add something

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