According to Frenkel & Frenkel, a recent settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisville is a warning to off-duty police officers across the country. police car Frenkel & Frenkel, a Dallas law firm, says that a recent settlement involving a speeding off-duty police officer in Lousville is a word of caution to police personnel throughout the country.  According to Louisville Police Chief, Steve Conrad, speeding, both on and off duty, by police officers is a common problem not only in his city, but in cities across the country, and the recent $700,000 settlement is an indication that officers need to follow the law. The Accident After leaving a graduation party, which her parents also attended, 22-year old Sarah Bearden, died after Detective James Adams, who was driving more than 80 miles per hour, slammed into her car on North Hurstbourne Parkway.  Adams, who was suspended for 30 days but not fired for the accident, also wrote a letter to the family admitting his speed was a contributing factor in the crash.  According to the police department, Adams was not fired due to contributing factors in the accident, which included evidence that Bearden’s blood-alcohol content was more than the state’s legal 0.08 and that she may have been texting at the time of the crash. Disputed Allegations According to her family, Bearden, who had one or two glasses of wine at the party, was not over the legal drinking limit, and that police misstated the results of the test, which was lost by the police department, and could not be used in court.  In addition, the city alleged that there was a typed but unsent text on Bearden’s phone.  The judge refused to allow the message as evidence as there was no way of proving that the text was typed at the time of the accident.  The facts admitted into evidence showed that Adams struck Bearden’s vehicle on May 22, 2010, travelling almost 40 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.  The grand jury did not indict Adams in the incident. Words of Caution In Adams letter, he cautioned other police officers to be operate motor vehicles responsibly, especially when not responding to emergency calls.  Initially, Adams believed his actions were not a contributing factor to the death of Bearden, but through the civil trial, came to realize that his actions contributed to the death of Bearden.  His letter also stated that police officers are sworn to protect citizens, and that they should take that oath very seriously.  The police chief added that he has been meeting with officers to explain the importance of following the same motor vehicle laws they enforce. Whether on duty or off, police officers are sworn to protect and serve the citizens of the community, and driving at excessive speeds not only puts those citizens in harm’s way, it also violates the law, which they have sworn to uphold.  If you or someone you love has been injured or died as a result of a car accident caused by excessive speed, whether the driver was a police officer, off-duty police officer or citizen, contact Frenkel & Frenkel to learn your rights.

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