Family of teen killed in crash with police officer sues West Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Family of teen killed in crash with police officer sues West Memphis

A Mid-South family was devastated when a West Memphis police officer crashed into and killed their 16-year-old daughter. Now, the family is fighting back, and suing the city for tens of millions of dollars.

The family of 16-year-old Brittany Sitzes claims city leaders missed important warning signs that, if caught, would mean their daughter would still be alive. Now in a lawsuit, they say the city of West Memphis owes them $51 million in damages.

Sitzes was killed last February when a West Memphis police officer crashed into her car as she was making a left hand turn.  Her sister was injured, but survived.

The lawsuit claims the crash could have been avoided if the police department and city noticed certain warning signs sooner.

The lawsuit says Officer James Wright "was traveling well in excess of the speed limit in a residential neighborhood" and he had "reckless disregard for the safety of others."    

A police report on the crash shows Sitzes' car was pushed nearly 150 feet.

The lawsuit also states the crash was Wright's third during his short tenure with the police department.

According to the suit, "at no time did the West Memphis Police Department discipline or appropriately train Defendant Wright for his reckless and negligent driving."

A few weeks after the crash, Wright was fired after a photo showed him in his uniform pointing a weapon at a camera, a violation of department policy.

We tried to talk with the Sitzes family Monday, who referred us to their their attorney, who had no comment.

The city attorney in West Memphis said there are a number of issues the lawsuit brings up ,and it was premature to respond to the suit.


Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.

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