Almost two years after three teenagers died in a crash following a police chase in Irmo, South Carolina, five lawsuits have been filed against the driver and the town where the crash took place.
Two of those lawsuits were filed by the driver’s mother Ronnisha Davis on behalf her late son D’Alo-Amir Davis, who died in the 2018 crash, and her other minor son who was injured in the crash.
She is suing the town of Irmo and her other son Renas Davis — who was allegedly driving at the time of the fatal crash — in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas.
Personal representatives of Travion Green, 13, and Travis Green Jr., 15, —brothers who died in the crash — also filed wrongful deaths lawsuits against Renas Davis and the town of Irmo last week. Jerquaris Harper, who was injured in the crash, also filed a lawsuit last week.
According to the lawsuits, Re’Shad D’Alo-Amir Davis, his 13-year-old brother, Travion Green, Travis Green, and Jerquaris Harper were all passengers in a Pontiac driven by his other brother Renas Davis on April 4, 2018.
Ronnisha Davis said all six of the boys in the car that night were friends who grew up together, WLTX previously reported.
Renas Davis did not stop the vehicle — which was allegedly stolen — when Corporal Hugue of the Irmo Police Department turned on his lights in an attempt to pull Davis over for speeding on Irmo Drive, according to the lawsuits.
Instead, Ranas Davis “continued to drive at a slow rate of speed into a residential neighborhood” and made several turns, the lawsuits stated.
Back on Irmo Drive, Renas Davis eventually sped up and Hugue followed in the chase, the lawsuits said.
At one point in the 4.5-mile chase, Renas Davis “passed a vehicle at a high rate of speed fleeing and eluding Corporal Hugue, who notified dispatch that he was in pursuit of the 2008 Pontiac,” the lawsuits said.
Soon after, Sgt. John Hendricks, the supervisor on duty, joined the pursuit, the lawsuit said.
Even though the chase reached speeds of 100 mph, the supervising officers on duty never gave orders to end the chase, according to the lawsuits.
After 4.5 miles into the chase, Renas Davis lost control while trying to pass another vehicle Piney Grove Road, the lawsuits said. The Pontiac crashed into a tree, killing three passengers and severely injuring three others.
None of the boys in the Pontiac were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, WIS previously reported.
The lawsuits accuse the town of Irmo’s supervising and pursuing officers of negligence in “initiating and failing to terminate” the high-speed chase.
Specifically, the lawsuits accuse the officers of “failing to follow and adhere to the local, state and national standards, policies and procedures, including the policies and procedures of the Town of Irmo Police Department.”
The officers should have terminated the pursuit “when speeds reached unreasonable speeds, creating a clear and unreasonable danger to all motorist,” the lawsuits said.
Renas Davis is accused of negligence for speeding, failing to stop for blue lights, and recklessly operating his vehicle at the time of the crash.
According to WIS, Renas Davis was charged in 2018 with “three counts of failure to stop for blue lights resulting in death, failure to stop for blue lights resulting in bodily injury, child endangerment within a vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle.”
In June 2019, Renas Davis was sentenced to 10 years for the crash. He’s expected to be released in September 2027, according to prison records.
At her son’s 2018 bond hearing, Ronnisha Davis said the accident has “left a damper on (her) home,” WIS reported.
“It’s a sad situation. It’s not anything that you could think of,” Ronnisha Davis said in 2018.
SC police pursuits… a problem?
A recent Greenville News investigation found that 113 people were killed during police pursuits in South Carolina from 2009 to 2018, making the Palmetto State No. 3 in the nation for people killed in police chases during that time, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
A “vast majority” of police chases in South Carolina were “initiated over traffic violations and other nonviolent crimes, ” and one in three resulted in injury or death, according to a 2018 State newspaper article. In the article, several police experts suggested that a state-wide policy for police pursuits could help reduce the high number of deaths.
Police chases in South Carolina also result in a high number of lawsuits.
In 2018, an Easley, South Carolina woman won a $1 million settlement with the City of Liberty after her husband was killed as a bystander in a police chase by a man who was allegedly on meth.
Even the suspects who were being pursued by police at the time of their accidents have won settlements against SC police departments.
In 2014, an Orangeburg man who was injured after leading deputies on a police chase won a $260,000 settlement with the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, the Times and Democrat reported.
That man, Quinnton Jamar Henderson, has allegedly led police on two other chases since he won the lawsuit in 2014, according to the Times and Democrat.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].
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