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Officers Accused of Responsibility for Death of Abandoned Man


A lawsuit accuses a number of local law enforcement officers and agencies of responsibility for the death of an intoxicated man hit by a vehicle alongside U.S. 36. The wrongful death lawsuit filed by his surviving family asserts that officers took him into their vehicle after discovering him in his stopped car along the highway and, knowing that he was intoxicated, they then abandoned him a distance away at a restaurant, instead of taking him into custody.

He later left the restaurant and wandered off down the highway where he was struck and killed by a vehicle. The man's family, which includes two young daughters, characterize what the officers did as a "perverse joke" that tragically caused the man's death. The man was 22 years old at the time and from Mexico. He was left at a Taco Bell restaurant. Three officers involved in the incident were later fired and two convicted of criminal charges, with one entering a plea bargain to a misdemeanor and being fined and the other being found guilty of dereliction of duty and fined $1,809.80.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, seeks damages for the man's death and the economic losses of his family, including the loss of support for his minor children. One of the attorneys for the family expressed the hope that the lawsuit would serve to emphasize to police that all persons, including those from Mexico, deserve to be treated fairly and protected, not abandoned in an intoxicated state alone on the side of a highway where their death was predictable. The lawsuit targets an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper, two former Delaware County sheriff's deputies, and Delaware County, among others.

Source: The Lima News, "Popoca’s family sues county" Dustin Ensinger, Jan. 09, 2014