Mother of hit-and-run victim waiting for justice - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Mother of hit-and-run victim waiting for justice

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A mother is searching for answers and hoping for justice after she says the process has taken too long for her son who died in September.

Last week, WDRB reported Louisville Metro Police Officer Chris Thurman is under investigation.  Even though at least one of his cases has been reassigned, a victim's mother believes it could have affected justice taking too long.

"When you lose that child, a part of you is gone forever," said Cheryl McQuilling.  The mother of three has become a mother of two.  She now prepares for her son's favorite holiday without him.
"He loved Christmas. He was like a big kid... He was my baby," McQuilling said.

She wonders why no one has been punished for taking her child's life.  Chad McQuilling died in the hospital, weeks after a hit-and-run on I-64 West.  The 31-year-old's mother says she understands it was a dangerous situation when her son ran out of gas on the interstate. It's not the accident that upset her the most, but the moments and months after.

"My husband and I have said time and time again, if he had stopped, if he had rendered aid, that's an accident," McQuilling said.

"But you don't leave a human being on the side of a highway or road or anywhere to die."

According to the Traffic Collision Report, Officer Chris Thurman was initially assigned to the case in early September.  Investigators located what they call an "involved person."  When Thurman spoke with the family while Chad was in the hospital, they said he assured them justice would be done.

"Officer Thurman had indicated that there were certain charges that this individual had admitted to," said family attorney Grant Axon.

"There was some thought or belief that he was intoxicated."

McQuilling said she remembered seeing Thurman come in and collect evidence from the hospital.

"He said 'I don't mean to be cocky, but I am good at my job and I got the guy,'" McQuilling said.

"From that time we were told that indictment would be brought down against this gentleman," Axon said.
According to documents obtained in Jefferson District Court, Thurman is in an open criminal investigation for "allegedly falsifying his time sheet claiming overtime that he might not have worked."  LMPD officials say he has been placed on paid administrative leave.  LMPD Spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said they are prohibited by law to comment on the details of the investigation.

Axon said they had "no indication that anything has occurred in this case" since Sept. 19. 

"Again, we have to presume that's because of Officer Thurman's investigation, or his being investigated," said Axon.

Chad McQuilling died on Sept. 29.  Mitchell said the case has been reassigned and handed over to the Commonwealth's Attorney.  Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine said they cannot comment on pending charges, but say justice takes time.
"Individual prosecutors, they do not want to rush in and get an indictment," Wine said.

"If they see something out there that may be a problem, I applaud them for holding things up.  We  have no statute of limitations to prosecute a felony case."

Axon said regardless of the reason, they simply wanted to see something move forward in the near future.

"I wouldn't want to speculate as to what work has been done or hasn't been done," Axon said. "But none of the things we were promised were happening have happened."
For a grieving mother, whatever the reason, the timing for justice is just not fast enough for her.
"A grown man,thirty years old, it was still 'momma.'  He wouldn't hang up the phone without saying 'I love you momma,'" McQuilling said.

"I don't know if he can tell his momma that, if she's still around, but I will never hear it.  He took my child's life," said McQuilling.

McQuilling said she felt that if her son were some sort of "dignitary," the timing may have been faster.

"Why would my child's life mean any less?"

Previous Stories:

Man grasps to life, family seeks answers in hit and run

Update: Man injured during I-64 hit and run has died

No arrests made after death of hit-and-run victim

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