Friday, January 6, 2012

$8 million claim filed in trooper crash case

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 5:00 PM

FATAL WRECK: In Manila.
  • kait8.com
  • FATAL WRECK: In Manila.
The estate of Vickie Freemyer, the Blytheville teacher killed when her car was struck by a speeding State Police cruiser driven by former Trooper Andrew Rhew, has filed an $8 million claim in the death with the state Claims Commission.

Here's a copy of the claim. It is filed in behalf of her heirs — four children, her parents and a sister — and makes claims for mental anguish and other damages.

The State Police carries no insurance for accidents and the state can't be sued, but the Claims Commission serves as the conscience of the state in considering awards to people damaged by state actions. Any award approved by the Commission would have to be appropriated by the legislature.

Robert Coleman of Blytheville, attorney for the Freemyer family, said negotiations continue on this claim. A settlement for less than the amount sought is a possibility in any claim. Indications are that the State Police stands ready to agree to a significant award.

This particular case has a number of potential political complications: It involves a cop and they frequently enjoy support for their official actions. But Rhew's case is more complicated. He was fired, twice before it was over, for speeding at more than 100 mph to a non-emergency call 20 miles away without running a siren or warning lights. But the State Police Commission, heavily influenced by the commissioner from Rhew's area, Wallace Fowler, ordered him reinstated though Rhew had plea bargained to a misdemeanor negligent manslaughter charge in Freemyer's death. Rhew resigned from the State Police in September after being arrested in a DWI wreck. A trial on that charge has not been held.

Freemyer's car was struck as she pulled slowly onto Highway 77 in Manila. That put her in the path of Rhew, who had been driving at speeds up to 103 mph, according to his cruiser's on-board data recorder. When he appealed his firing, other troopers said they, too, frequently drove at high speeds without lights and siren and his attorney argued that Freemyer, 52, contributed to the accident by pulling onto the highway. The claim cites Rhew's reckless and negligent actions and the State Police for failing to sufficiently train him and also for failing to sufficiently staff the driver's license center with security. Rhew was heading there because of a report of a person with an outstanding arrest warrant. The claim said local law officers could have been called rather than Rhew, who was 25 miles away.

The Claims Commission has awarded up to $6 million in the case of a child permanently disabled in an injury caused by highway machinery.

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Tom Cotton suggests Dick Cheney as House speaker

    Yes. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton told Politico he'd like to see Dick Cheny as House speaker.
    • Oct 12, 2015
  • AHTD asks Metroplan to lift six-lane freeway cap

    The board of directors of Metroplan has informed the state highway department that it cannot act on the highway department's June 17 request to lift its six-lane freeway cap at the board's June 29 meeting. Consideration of the request should take four months, Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher wrote June 22 to highway department Director Scott Bennett.
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • Polling reported in Democratic Senate primary; includes Bill Halter

    A friend reports an interesting automated poll Thursday night, relating to one announced and perhaps another potential Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
    • Nov 7, 2015

Most Shared

  • Conspiracy theorists

    Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote.
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.
  • That modern mercantile: The bARn

    The bARn Mercantile — "the general store for the not so general," its slogan says — will open in the space formerly occupied by Ten Thousand Villages at 301A President Clinton Ave.

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation