Attorney to file wrongful death suit against state, MSP trooper - WNEM TV 5

Attorney to file wrongful death suit against state, MSP trooper

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A Michigan attorney is planning to file a $50 million lawsuit against the State of Michigan and a state police trooper.

The lawsuit, brought on by Geoffrey Fieger, is a result of a police chase in Flint that caused the death of one person and severely injured two others.

"This is a totally unnecessary tragedy and something has to be done," Fieger said.

Fieger said his team conducted their own investigation into the trooper-involved crash that killed 64-year-old Jacqueline Nichols.

Fieger said his findings revealed the trooper began a high-speed pursuit in Flint because a motorist wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

Fieger said a witness observed the police cruiser traveling at a high rate of speed without any lights or sirens for at least five blocks before hitting the car carrying Nichols and two friends.

He said the trooper's father was in the car on a ride-along during the chase. He said that information is very important to this case.

The crash happened July 3 when a trooper was chasing a fleeing vehicle, police said.

The trooper from the Flint post tried to pull over the suspect's car, but the suspect refused and ran a stop sign. Police said the trooper pursued the suspect and crashed into another vehicle traveling through the intersection. The suspect fled the scene.

Precious Cochrane, 61, Jacqueline Nichols, 64, and Robbie Head, 39, were in the vehicle the state trooper crashed into. Nichols died in the accident and Cochrane and Head were severely injured.

The police vehicle was traveling through the intersection at a high rate of speed, without lights or sirens operating, pursuing a vehicle for a minor traffic violation, Fieger's office said in a news release.

The trooper and a passenger, who was a civilian doing a ride-along, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

"It is well known that police take the public's lives into their hands when they engage in unnecessary and inappropriately conducted police chases. In this case, it is also terrible that the state police office had a family tag-along in his car. Apparently, he was trying to impress the drive-along," Fieger said in the news release.

It is not known if there was any dashcam video or audio data of the crash, but Fieger said he will subpoena that information.

Fieger also said he would pressure Genesee County to bring criminal charges against the trooper responsible.

"This is not a new occurrence. Officers have been charged in this state in the past for the same thing," Fieger said.

TV5 still has not received an official response from the state police as it relates to the crash.

Meanwhile, the family of Jacqueline Nichols will have a candlelight vigil in her honor. The vigil will take place at the corner of North and Pierson roads in Flint. The vigil begins at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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