ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The family of a woman who died in an April crash involving an Anderson County deputy filed a wrongful death lawsuit against that deputy and the sheriff’s office.
The crash happened April 3 on Highway 28 Bypass near Anderson.
80-year-old Sarah Parson died from her injuries at the hospital a short time after the crash.
South Carolina Highway Patrol said Parson was turning from a private driveway on to Highway 28 Bypass when her vehicle was struck by the deputy’s vehicle.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office said the deputy was responding to the armed robbery at the time of the crash.
The lawsuit alleges gross negligence by the deputy and the sheriff’s office, and Sheriff Chad McBride.
The deputy, identified in the lawsuit as Jonathan Westbrook, was fired for violating department policy in the crash, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.
The lawsuit stated that Westbrook’s vehicle was traveling 101 miles per hour and ran a red light, causing the crash.
The lawyer representing Parson’s family, Chris Pracht, says if Westbrook wasn’t driving so recklessly. Parson would still be alive today.
“Pulling the electronic data reporter off the vehicle, we learned that the deputy was traveling in excess of 101 miles per hour 2 seconds before impact.,” Pracht said. “We also learned that he was operating at 100% throttle and that he proceeded through a red light under the intersection.”
Pracht says both Westbrook and the Sheriff’s Office need to be held accountable.
“This has not been the first problem we’ve heard of with deputies operating vehicles in a careless fashion, so we’re looking to effect change at the sheriff’s office,” Pracht said.
“He knowingly violated clearly established law by driving his patrol vehicle in a manner that exhibited a conscience-shocking deliberate indifference to the lives and safety of those around him,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Anderson County court.