LaGRANGE — A woman who was injured when she was a passenger in a car that crashed after being chased by LaGrange police is seeking $500,000 in damages from the city.
Yvonne Brumbrey was inside a Nissan Altima on April 24 when the driver fled a police checkpoint near the intersection of Troup Street and Fourth Avenue, states a letter to the city from Brumbrey’s Atlanta-based attorney Helen Suh of Montlick and Associates law firm.
The driver, identified in the letter as Johnny Hughley, fled the checkpoint and was pursued by LaGrange Police Sgt. Marshall McCoy. The chase ended when Hughley lost control of the car and it “vaulted into the air and landed in the base of a home” in the 1000 block of Troup Street, the letter states.
Brumbrey, who was wearing a seat belt, suffered friction burns from the seat belt, cuts from broken glass, two broken bones in her lower back and “severe pain throughout her body,” the letter states.
Another passenger who was in the back seat was thrown forward on impact and hit Brumbrey in the front seat. It is unclear if that person was wearing a seat belt.
As of Aug. 9, Brumbrey’s medical bills totaled $12,219.70, the letter continues. That amount is expected to grow as additional medical expenses are incurred, Brumbrey’s attorney wrote.
The attorney claims the city and LaGrange police failed to property train McCoy in stopping a vehicle without “causing injury to innocent passengers,” and that he failed to follow proper procedure when he pursued the Altima.
LaGrange Public Safety Chief Lou Dekmar denied the allegations and said McCoy was up to date in the proper training.
“The facts don’t support the allegations in the (letter),” he said. “We look forward to the opportunity to review this in an arena where facts matter.”
City Council on Tuesday unanimously denied the claim and forwarded it to the city’s liability insurance company.
Brumbrey’s attorney claims the $500,000 is the value of “economic and non-economic damages suffered in the past, now and in the future, including but not exclusive of lost wages and pain and suffering.”
The letter to the city serves as a legally required notice that must be sent before a lawsuit can be filed against the city.
The LaGrange Police Department received international accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA, in July 1999, and received its fifth consecutive re-accreditation award in 2014. The agency also participates in the Georgia State Certification Program through the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. The department received State Certification in 1998 and continues to participate in this voluntary process.
Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.