The Mother of a local musician who was killed last January by a Louisville Metro Police officer that was driving the wrong way on a one-way street has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer and Police Chief Robert White.
Marsha Butler filed the lawsuit against Officer Jason Brown, claiming Brown was driving in a “careless and negligent” manner when he was driving the wrong way down the road and hit Derek Butler’s Mitsubishi.
Brown was on his way to help another officer catch a fleeing drug suspect.
Derek Butler had just left choir practice. He died at the scene
The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court, alleges Brown failed to follow safety policies and procedures or to comply with state rules and regulations. The suit further accuses Brown of reckless driving, speeding, operating an emergency vehicle dangerously without regard for the safety of others and more.
Brown, who had on his lights and siren, was cleared by a grand jury of criminal wrongdoing in June after telling jury members he didn’t know he was driving the wrong way on a one-way street before causing the wreck. Brown is on administrative leave.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial. It also claims White and unknown other defendants were negligent in the hiring and training of Brown.
Brown’s driving record before being hired as a police officer includes several traffic violations and a wreck in 1999 that killed 74-year-old William O’Bannon.
Brown, then 17, was attempting an improper lane change when his pickup hit O’Bannon, who was standing behind his truck after running out of gas in the space between the merging lane on Watterson Expressway next to Crittenden Drive, according to the accident report.
Before becoming an officer, Brown was stopped by police four times between 1998 and 2001. He was charged with reckless driving, running a traffic light, disregarding a stop sign, having expired plates, failing to produce his insurance card and speeding.