Richard Hendrix, an Atlanta-based attorney, was the author of the PursuitSAFETY amicus brief accepted by the Kentucky Supreme Court in support of the appeal filed by Garmer & Prather, PLLC of Kentucky. Jerome Prather wrote, “The Court cited statistics from PursuitSAFETY’s amicus brief in its opinion.”
Hendrix stated, “Increased accountability will save lives in Kentucky.”
The Courier Journal reported in April that Deputy Jeremy Johnson chased a suspected heroin dealer into Fayette County on a rainy night, realizing in mid-pursuit that his siren wasn’t working. State law requires police to use their lights and sirens during a pursuit. The suspect crashed into a car in which Gonzalez was a passenger, killing him and causing fatal injuries to the driver, Geneva Spencer.
A trial judge summarily dismissed a wrongful death suit filed by Gonzalez’s estate, citing a 65-year-old case brought by the driver of a horse-drawn milk truck whose wagon was cut in two by a fleeing suspect chased by police in Owensboro.
Kentucky’s high court ruled in 1952, “Police cannot be made insurers of the conduct of culprits they chase.”
On June 13, 2019, the Kentucky Supreme Court, however, overruled that opinion, by changing the state law and held that there is a jury question on liability in police chase cases where the fleeing suspect caused the injury.
Gonzalez’s son sued the Scott County Sheriff’s Office over the Jan. 14, 2014, collision, saying his father, a widower with six grandchildren, would still be alive if not for the unlawful chase.
PursuitSAFETY Motion for Leave.