Anthony James Scott was cleared by a Grand Jury of criminal wrongdoing in the September 26, 2015 accident that took the lives of Kylie Lindsey, 17 and Isabella Chinchilla, 16. While the Grand Jury found there was insufficient evidence for a criminal indictment, that did not stop Scott from losing his job with the Georgia State Police. Scott was fired when it was determined he was traveling 91 mph moments before the crash; the speed limit was 55 mph on the stretch of U.S. 27 near Bremen in Carroll County on which he was traveling. It was further determined that when Scott sideswiped the car driven by the teens, he was not on an emergency call or responding to any situation at all.
What Remedies Do the Victims’ Families Have?
While nothing can adequately compensate a family for the loss of a loved one, particularly one so young, there may be some remedies for the families in this case. They should immediately contact a compassionate, trustworthy attorney to discuss their rights. They will likely to be able to file suit against Anthony Scott for the wrongful death of their children. Simply because the Grand Jury found there was insufficient evidence for a criminal indictment, does not mean the facts fail to give rise to a civil action. If Mr. Scott were sued by the victims families, he would likely claim “qualified immunity” as a defense to his actions.
What Is Qualified Immunity?
Qualified immunity is a statute that exists to protect police officers from being sued for bad outcomes as a result of their job. It allows for immunity from civil damages for government employees so long as their conduct is essentially reasonable and lawful.
Can Qualified Immunity Be Overcome?
Yes – qualified immunity is not absolute. Federal courts have held that qualified immunity protects all conduct except that which is clearly incompetent or knowingly illegal. In this particular case the families may be able to show both of those factors. To be sure, Mr. Scott was traveling at 91 mph in 55 mph zone. He was not exercising any duty related to his position as a law enforcement officer at the time of the accident. This conduct could absolutely be found to be incompetent and it is certainly illegal. This conduct, if presented to a jury, may well be sufficient to pierce the qualified immunity defense.
What Steps Should Be Taken Next?
Any time a loved one is lost, there is a great amount of pain and sorrow that follows that loss. It is still important to contact a compassionate, trustworthy Georgia auto accident lawyer who can ensure that all of your rights and your family’s rights are protected. The Law Office of John B. Jackson can provide you and your family with experienced, aggressive representation that will protect you and your family from any further harm. It is also important to remember that time is always a factor and it is best to contact an attorney today, or else you risk inadvertently waiving your rights.