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Police sued for abandoning man before car accident

Ohio police officers are being sued by the family of a man who died in a highway accident when he was struck by a passing vehicle as he walked along a highway. An unusual aspect of the lawsuit is that the officers were not driving the vehicle that struck and hit the man. Instead, what happened is that they found the man, allegedly in an intoxicated condition, sitting in his truck, which he had pulled over into a grass median. They put him in their vehicle.

But rather than arresting him or taking him to a place of safety, they supposedly just drove him five miles away and abandoned him at a Taco Bell restaurant by the side of a highway without a vehicle. Later, when he walked along the side of the four lane highway, still intoxicated, a passing car struck and killed him. The family argues that the abandonment by the officers caused his death, and that they regarded what they did as some kind of joke.

The lawsuit argues that the defendant officers placed him in a position of obvious danger and abandoned him there, failing to protect his safety or follow standard procedures for how police should deal with an intoxicated person. Many Ohio car accidents involve reckless drivers, but this lawsuit focuses not on the driver, but on police who allegedly created the circumstances that facilitated the accident.

Additionally, police allegedly failed to take further action when both the restaurant manager and drivers along the highway called informing them about the man's condition during a period of almost an hour. The man's family, including his parents, wife, and two children were very dependent on his earnings, much of which he sent to them in Mexico.

Source:  Associated Press, "Family of drunken man killed by car sues Ohio cops" Amanda Lee Myers, Jan. 19, 2014

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