Lawsuit filed against WHAS TV, former reporter for hit-and-run d - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Lawsuit filed against WHAS TV, former reporter for hit-and-run death is settled

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A wrongful death lawsuit filed against WHAS TV News, a former 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 two years ago has been settled.

Attorney Aubrey Williams, who represents the family of the woman, Fontaine Jeffrey, 58, said the lawsuit was finalized last month but is confidential, and he could not comment further.

An agreed order dismissing the suit and ordering both sides to pay their own costs was filed in Jefferson Circuit Court on Nov. 29, according to court records. 

The lawsuit claimed tow truck driver Matthew Good was out of control when he struck Jeffrey at the intersection of Second and Jefferson Streets on Jan. 23, 2015.

After that, Jeff Woods, then 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.

Gannett Broadcast Service Center, the corporate entity responding on behalf of WHAS, asked that the case be dismissed in October, arguing the company was not responsible for Woods’ actions.

WHAS is now owned by TEGNA Inc., a company spun off in June 2015 from newspaper publisher Gannett Co.

After Woods left the scene, WHAS's news director told him to call police, which he did, according to court records. Woods was then placed on leave and never returned to work. His contract was not renewed.

An attorney for Gannett Broadcasting Service Center said the company declined to comment. 

Woods pleaded guilty last summer to leaving the scene of an accident without providing help.

He was placed on supervised diversion, meaning he will avoid any prison time as long as he stays out of trouble for four years, after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and failing to render aid in the death of Fontaine Jeffrey, 58.

Jeffrey was leaving the Marriott Hotel in downtown Louisville where she worked and was in the crosswalk at Second and Jefferson when she fell and then was struck.

Williams said the family also settled with the tow truck company, Dave’s towing Service.

Jeffrey died of multiple injuries.

Investigators found human blood on all four tires of the WHAS TV News truck Woods was driving, according to court records.

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