Family of man killed by deputy in crash files lawsuit against Franklin County

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The family of a man killed in a crash with a Franklin County deputy filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county.

It was July 13, 2015, when 77-yr-old Nyal ‘Bud’ Brown’s van was t-boned by a cruiser authorities said was traveling more than 100 miles per hour.

NBC4 spoke with Brown’s family and attorney on Monday.

Brown was pulling out of the Key Bank parking lot onto West Sullivant Avenue as Deputy Brian Fritz was headed to an emergency with lights and siren on, traveling at a high speed. Fritz crashed into Brown’s van, killing him instantly.

Brown’s family said the deputy was driving recklessly.

“If this man hadn’t been doing 106 mph, my brother would be here talking to us right now,” said Bill Brown, Bud’s younger brother.

Both the city and county prosecutor’s office’s reviewed the crash facts and said the evidence did not support filing criminal charges against Deputy Fritz, stating policy allows excessive speed on an emergency run. Christy McCreary, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s public information officer said the evidence did not support a felony charge. The Chief City Attorney Lara Baker-Morrish said there was not enough evidence to charge Fritz with a misdemeanor.

The Browns said they filed this lawsuit with the help of attorney Mike Christensen to get justice for Bud. Christensen said part of their claim they plan to prove is who was supervising Deputy Fritz on that emergency run.

“There appears to be a lack of supervision, nobody is saying hey officer how fast are you going? Keep in mind he is a secondary responder,” Christensen said.

Surveillance video shows Deputy Fritz’s SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed right before the crash. A review of the prosecutor’s finding showed the cruiser was traveling more than 100 mph. Marc Gofstein Spokesman for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Fritz was suspended right after the accident, then exonerated and was allowed to return back to patrol.

The Franklin County Fraternal Order of Police represents Deputy Fritz and 3,400 other law enforcement officers and spoke on his behalf.

“The officer was operating his vehicle with due regard responding to an emergency run, had his lights and siren on, this was just an unfortunate situation that occurred,” said Jason Pappas, FOP President.

Brown’s son Mike lived three hours away in Louisville, KY.

“He was killed on the 13th and I had just been there 10 days prior to that, and that was the last time I saw him,” Brown said.

The lawsuit was filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas just days before the statute of limitations expired on the case.

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