Lawsuit alleges cover up in hit-and-run crash that killed man in Midtown

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - WMC Action News 5 uncovered a lawsuit filed in the case of a deadly hit-and-run near Overton Square last year.

Memphis Police Department Traffic Bureau has investigated the hit-and-run death of Christopher Phillips for more than a year.

Despite no charges being filed in the case, a civil lawsuit has been filed. It not only names alleged suspects in the case, but it also details an alleged conspiracy to cover up the crime.

Phillips was killed last February when Memphis Police Department said the driver of a silver Ford Mustang hit him and kept going.

The civil suit claims the driver of the Mustang, along with a named family member and other unnamed accomplices, worked together to allegedly hide the vehicle, destroy the evidence, and mislead investigators.

According to the court documents, following the hit-and-run, the "defendant asked an unnamed person to travel to a Target store in Memphis and purchase a car cover." It claims the defendant reported, "she had hit a deer."

It goes on to say that Memphis Police Department obtained the receipt for the purchase of the car cover and the car cover itself.

The suit mentions a government employee who allegedly leaked information about search warrants executed at two local car dealerships.

At one point, the lawsuit claims "false or misleading anonymous tips to the Memphis Crime Stoppers call-line" were made.

WMC5 spoke with an attorney who said it is not uncommon to see the family of a victim file a civil suit before criminal charges come down.

"They are protecting the statute of limitations, and they're protecting a case of action in civil court as opposed to whether or not criminal charges are brought or not. It's a different burden of proof," attorney Craig Morgan said.

The lawsuit also states a possible government employee is involved in the alleged conspiracy.

"I don't think that the fact there is no criminal charges eliminates or weakens their positions to bring a civil action," Morgan said. "It covers all the legal issues that I think are relevant and pertinent at this time."

WMC5 reached out to City of Memphis for comment on the suit.

The city's chief legal officer said in part in a statement: "At this point, it's just a very unspecific allegation, however, we will monitor the suit."

WMC5 also reached out to the two people named in the lawsuit, but have been unsuccessful in reaching them. Phillips' family was unable to comment at this time.

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