An Alabama wrongful death lawsuit has been filed as the result of a high speed police chase in May of 2008. The Huntsville Alabama Car Wreck occurred on Redstone Arsenal as police were involved in a high speed chase with a suspected drug buyer. According to the Huntsville Times report, the suspected drug buyer, Valorie Cox, led police from several jurisdictions on a high speed chase through several parts of Huntsville at speeds of up to 90 mph. Tragically, the chase ended when Cox’s vehicle struck and killed a vehicle being driven by Darren Spurlock a Marshall Space Flight Center engineer. The Alabama wrongful death suit names the cities of Huntsville, Madison, Decatur, and Morgan and Madison counties as defendants. The suspect, Valorie Cox, has already pleaded guilty in federal court to a second-degree murder charge and is now serving a 30-year sentence. Essentially, the wrongful death suit claims that law enforcements actions in maintaining such a high speed pursuit in a heavily traveled area created a danger to the public greater than the suspected drug crime under investigation.
It is worth noting, that prior to filing this wrongful death suit the plaintiff was required under Alabama law to give a notice of claim to each municipality and county that was sued. Pursuant to Alabama Code §§ 6-5-20, 11-12-5, 11-12-8, 11-47-23, and 11-47-192 a plaintiff must file a notice of claim within 6 months within the date of the accident for a claim against a city and within 1 year of the date of the accident for a claim against a county. Alabama law also requires that claims against a city and a county be filed in the county where city is located. Since this wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Madison County, it will be interesting to see if the city of Decatur and Morgan County file a motion to transfer the case against them to Morgan County.