Appeals Court: City of Lubbock can be sued for 2015 crash involving officer
An appeals court finds the City of Lubbock can be held liable for a crash in September 2015 that injured two people. This reverses a judge's order dismissing this lawsuit two years ago in the 237th District Court.
Lubbock Police Officer John Cooke's patrol unit crashed with a vehicle while he was en route to help with an armed robbery call. The vehicle's driver, Alexa Jarpe, and passenger Jeremy Leech, claim the officer was negligent.
Court records show Cooke did not use his lights or siren while driving, but was doing 68mph in a 45mph zone. City policy shows the officers can only "run invisible", not using lights and siren, while doing less than 10mph over the posted speed limit.
Court records also indicate Cooke admitted he was looking at his computer right before the crash. The suit claims this is also against internal police policy.
The city claimed it could not be sued because of government immunity. City attorneys argued the officer was reacting to an emergency.
A panel of the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo finds Officer Cooke was not acting in good faith and was a dangerous driver while doing his job.
This means he is not covered by government or official immunity and the city can be sued for his actions.
This case will go back to the 237th District Court in Lubbock for further proceedings.