Fallen officer's family plans lawsuit
BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Monday, January 7, 2019
Lawyers representing the family of a Rocky Mount police officer killed in a crash plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit, according to court documents.
Christopher Driver was killed June 23 when his patrol car crashed into a commercial vehicle stalled in his lane of travel.
Two men were charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Their cases are currently pending grand jury review.
Derrick Sheffield, 47, and Timmy Earl Dixon, 38, are accused of abandoning a tree-trimming bucket truck at 10:30 p.m. on South Church Street.
Driver’s squad car struck the vehicle and he died of blunt force injuries, according to his death certificate that listed the manner of death to be an accident.
A letter from the Greenville-based Ricci Law Firm, which is attached to the defendants' court records, states the firm is representing Driver's estate and wants to be updated as the cases move forward since the firm plans to file a civil suit.
Attorney Brian Ricci told the Telegram on Friday that he wouldn't discuss details of the firm's legal strategy without first consulting with the Driver family.
The Ricci letter urges the court not to accept any plea deals for lesser charges in the case. The letter doesn't make it clear who the firm plans to sue and Brian Ricci wouldn't answer related questions.
Sheffield and Dixon both bonded out of jail the same day they were taken into custody. Sheffield's bail was set at $5,000 and Dixon's bail was set at $7,000.
In addition to counts of death by motor vehicle and leaving a vehicle unattended, Sheffield also was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
The truck was being towed illegally when its brakes failed. The owner of the 1985 Ford bucket truck told police that Sheffield took it without his permission, according to warrants.
Dixon was charged with leaving the scene of a wreck.
Driver was speeding and wasn't wearing his seatbelt, according to the State Highway Patrol, which investigated and made arrests in the case.
Rocky Mount police said Driver was on duty and enroute to a call that the bucket truck was being stolen.
Driver, 27, went to work for the Rocky Mount Police Department in February 2013 and was promoted to senior police officer in 2017.