A lawsuit is unfolding in Pennsylvania regarding two pedestrians that were struck by a vehicle that was fleeing a squad car that had failed to turn on its emergency siren. The two pedestrians, Mark McNeill and Michael Taylor, were struck by the vehicle in 2011 and died as a result of the accident.
The families of McNeill and Taylor are suing the borough of Folcroft, Pa. and the Police Chief Robert Ruskowski for “state-created danger in violation of the 14th Amendment’s due process clause against the borough of Folcroft and its police chief, and state-law claims for negligence, wrongful death, and survival against all three defendants,” claiming that Ruskowski failed to properly hire or train his officers as how to act during the pursuit of another vehicle, Courthouse News reports.
“Plaintiffs have adequately pleaded that Ruskowski, as police chief, with deliberate indifference, maintained a policy of not instructing his officers on the proper conduct of high-speed chases and that as a result Mark Richard McNeill and Michael J. Taylor died,” U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III initially wrote in his dismissal of the motion, explaining that Ruskowski could not be held liable for the incident.
“In our view, nothing Ruskowski did qualifies as a ‘fairly direct’ cause of the harm to the decedents. He was not present during and did not direct the chase and knew nothing about it as it took place,” Bartle wrote.
The officer involved in the chase, Michael Fiocco, was not sued. The attorney representing the families of the deceased explained that “this is not a vendetta against the officer. He made a big mistake that day. He didn’t have his siren on,” in a statement to the Delaware County News Network.
Despite Bartle’s opinion, Ruskowski and the town still face penalties that would hold them accountable for the incident.