Wrongful death lawsuit filed against WHAS TV sports anchor, tow truck driver in fatal crash
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against WHAS TV News, a sports reporter, a tow truck company and its driver in connection with the death of a woman who was hit when she fell in a downtown Louisville crosswalk in January.
The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court last week by the family of Fontaine Jeffrey, claims tow truck driver Matthew Good was out of control when he struck Jeffrey at the intersection of Second and Jefferson Streets on Jan. 23.
After that, Jeff Woods, a reporter for WHAS, hit Jeffrey, “dragging her several feet down Jefferson Street,” according to the lawsuit. Woods stopped his vehicle, got out and “without rendering aid,” got back in his news vehicle and “fled the scene of the accident,” the suit claims.
Woods actions were “unconscionable, outrageous, repugnant, and violated human decency,” according to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Aubrey Williams.
"What offends the family so greatly is that the driver left the scene," Williams said in an interview. "It's a tragedy and the family is hoping that WHAS and the towing company do the decent thing in regards to their mother."
WHAS 11 President and General Manager Linda Danna asked a reporter to e-mail questions to her. She has not yet responded.
Woods has been indicted on one count of failure to stop and render aid, a class D felony. He has pleaded not guilty. Woods works at WHAS 11 as the station's weekend sports anchor, but has not been on the air since the night of the incident.
Good has not been charged. Alicia Smiley, a spokeswoman for Louisville Metro Police, said Good remained at the scene and no charges are expected. The police report cites "inattention" by Good as one of the factors involved in the accident.
The report said Good told police he saw a WHAS vehicle leave the scene after hitting Jeffrey. Good said the driver got out, looked at the victim, got back in his vehicle and drove off. Police contacted WHAS and they turned over the vehicle, according to the report.
The lawsuit claims Good, who was working for Dave's Towing Service, was speeding and failed to maintain control of his vehicle when he struck Jeffrey, causing her death.
A message left for the owner of Dave's Towing Service and Good was not immediately returned.
The suit is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and a trial by jury.
Jeffery, 58, was leaving the Marriott Hotel in downtown Louisville where she worked on January 23 and was in the crosswalk at Second and Jefferson when she fell. After being struck, she was transported to University Hospital where she was pronounced dead due to blunt force trauma.
Jeffrey's family told WDRB she was likely crossing Jefferson Street on that night to get to the TARC bus stop.
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