Family Sues City Of Danbury And Former Danbury Police Officer
The family of a woman killed two years ago in a car chase in Danbury is now suing the City and the former Danbury Police Officer involved in the high speed chase.
According to patch.com, the family of Tiffany Fitzgerald has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Haven, claiming that former Danbury Police officer, Jamie Hodge, should never have gotten involved in a high speed chase through the city. The lawsuit also accuses Hodge of acting recklessly and violating both department policy and state law when he initiated the chase of a stolen SUV in his own personal vehicle.
The chase in question started in downtown Danbury and ended when the Ford Explorer, which was being driven by Ricardo S. Andre of Danbury, rolled over and threw Tiffany Fitzgerald from the vehicle, resulting in her untimely death.
Back in May of this year, Ricardo S. Andre was charged with first degree manslaughter, a charge in which he was later found guilty. Overall, Andre received an 11-year sentence, but it's likely that he will only be required to serve six of those years, accompanied by a three-year probation.
Prior to the engaging in the chase, Officer Hodge was working at a private construction site when he saw the SUV and thought he recognized the driver, who he said resembled someone who had warrants out for their arrest.
When the case was investigated, and according to court records, officer Hodge was found to be operating his personal vehicle at a rate of speed that was putting the life of any person, other than the operator, in danger. Hodge appeared in Waterbury Superior Court in April of 2018 and pleaded guilty to traveling unreasonably fast and not obeying a traffic light. He paid a a fine of $347 and the case against him was dismissed.
The current lawsuit, just filed on Thursday (November 29), also includes claims that the local officer used excessive and unreasonable force, which is considered to be a violation of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment.