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Lawsuit Over Officer Involved Crash Not First Against JPD, City - KOAM TV 7

Lawsuit Over Officer Involved Crash Not First Against JPD, City for Distracted Driving by Cops

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Joplin, MO -

The Joplin Police department is facing another lawsuit over a crash involving an officer.  The plaintiff isnt the first to sue the department over distracted driving by officers.

"It was an uphill battle the whole way," said Brian Spencer who sued police and the city as employer back in 2010. He kept the totaled car which has a police department  license plate sitting  where it was found in the crashed front end.    Spencer said he  fought two  years on his own then got an attorney and  sued. Like Andrew Girouard who is suing the department and city now, Spencer thought he had a cut and dry case because he had a witness
Spencer explained, "The witness said he (the officer)  was driving  erratically the whole two or three miles he was following him,until he came on the scene saw what happened.

A different witness also says an officer was to blame in the case now  filed by Andrew Girouard on April 23, 2018.
Tresha Thompson remembers it well. "We were in the left turn lane. The jeep was in the lane next. And the police officer came from Main street down 20th here."
The crash happened at 20th and Joplin Avenue in June of 2016 . Thompson and the police report itself say the officer went through a red light. 
Thompson said it took her by surprise, "He didn
t even look like he tried to slow down  at all, um, he didnt have his lights on. He didnt have  his sirens on. He just came through the intersection and hit the jeep. And the jeep did not have  the doors or the top on. He was all open and we were really worried about him."
Her daughter asked the officer why.
Thompson said, "My daughter, she asked him why did you  hit that man? And he said he was trying to get a hold of his partner."


A third party insurance carrier settled and paid for damages to Andrew Girouards  vehicle. Repairs are underway now, but  response to the case for medical damages deny responsibility and conflict with the original police report at the scene. 
Mike Fleming is Andrew Girouard
s attorney. "They responded that the control signal for the lane in which  Officer (Jarod) Tingley was traveling was burned out at the time of the accident. That  piece of information was omitted from the police report."
Girouard's mom says he's lost wages and struggles with migraines, arm, back and neck pain and now hopelessness.
Sharol Stein added, "There
s no resolution thats gonna help him. Something to make the pain  go away. He's on a lot of meds. He didnt take meds before that."
Brian Spencer had some somber advice for Girouard.

Whoever else has had this happen, theyre  in for a long battle, said Spencer.


     There have been no depositions yet in the case being made by Girouard. It seeks money for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.
     Fleming, his attorney, said responses to questions from Officer Jarod Tingley  are due by June 15th. He will seek to depose the officers who authored the police report as well.

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