Kansas County Settles Pursuit Lawsuit for $20K

Sedgwick County has agreed to pay $20,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleged a deputy was at fault in a 2009 pursuit that killed two men from the south-central Kansas town of Haysville.

The Wichita Eagle reported that the lawsuit was filed last year by the estate of Beau Blake. He was a 25-year-old passenger in a Camero that purportedly sped away after a deputy followed it, then collided with a soybean truck. The car’s 19-year-old driver, Colton Emerson, also died.

The lawsuit, which named commissioners and the pursuing deputy, said the deputy violated policy by not using the squad car’s emergency lights and siren and was driving in an “unsafe and dangerous manner” that caused Emerson to drive unsafely.

The county defended itself in court documents, saying that the deputy followed the car for only seconds, that both occupants of the car were impaired by drugs and that the actions of the Camaro driver, not the deputy, led to the crash. The deputy remains with the sheriff’s office.

A trial had been scheduled for September. But County Counselor Rich Euson said it was decided that it would have cost more money to try the lawsuit than to settle, “and we thought under the circumstances, that it would be in the best interest of the county to go ahead and settle for the lesser amount.” The lawsuit sought $4 million in damages at one point.