When 22-year-old Kaelin Kersh got inside the Toyota Corolla occupied by Noel Collier, 21, and Tanequa Alexander, 22, back in 2017, she didn’t expect this to be the last trip she would ever take. Sadly, it was after the three were driving on Highway 182 near Starkville and their car was struck by a speeding Mississippi Highway Patrol Officer.
On May 7, 2017, around 1: 30 a.m., state trooper Kyle Lee was dispatched to a call and was heading eastbound on Highway 182 to verify a report of another vehicle leaving the highway, according to the Clarion Ledger. The trooper was allegedly driving without his blue lights, which is an indicator to others on the roadway that there is an emergency and that they need to move out of the way for the officer. As a result of the excessive speeds the officer was traveling at coupled with the fact that it was dark and he didn’t have his flashing lights on, the trooper crashed into the Toyota. Kersh had been riding in the front passenger seat of the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Kersh died as a result of the accident and the two individuals who were in the vehicle with her were hospitalized after they had sustained injuries. Kersh had just graduated from Mississippi State University and was a track athlete. The other two occupants who survived were students at MSU also. After the incident, Kersh’s family decided to file a lawsuit along with the two women who had suffered injuries in the collision against the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Generally, when someone sustains an injury or their loved one is killed in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another, they stand a good chance at winning their case should they choose to file suit against that careless party.
And because Lee was accused of speeding and driving without his blue flashing lights on, the family had a viable case on their hands. There was an initial dispute as to how fast Lee was traveling in his patrol car at the time of the accident as the incident report indicated that he was going 68 mph in a 45-mph zone. However, the MS personal injury attorney representing the Kersh estate stated that the dash camera footage obtained from Lee’s patrol vehicle showed the trooper was going 100 mph when the fatal crash transpired.
Based on the evidence obtained, the family along with the other two victims were awarded $500,000, which is the maximum amount a government entity would have to pay in a lawsuit, according to the source. The money was paid on June 6, 2018, and was placed in a court account. It is expected to be divided among Kersh’s estate along with the two individuals named in the lawsuit. Now, the plaintiffs must agree on how the money should be split.
Law Passed on Behalf of Kaelin Kersh
If you or someone you know suffered an injury caused by another person who behaved negligently, speak with a MS personal injury attorney who can explain your legal rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Aside from the settlement awarded to the victims and survivors of the tragic accident, Mississippi legislators also passed House Bill 1202 which requires emergency responders to turn on flashing lights when traveling more than 30 mph faster than the speed limit. The law is called the Kaelin Kersh Act and it takes effect July 1, 2018.
As unfortunate as this accident is, hopefully, the new law will help prevent further accidents similar to this from occurring and in return, save more lives.
If your life has been impacted by a negligent driver in Mississippi and you would like to learn more about how you can hold that person or entity accountable for their careless behavior, contact Jackson, MS personal injury lawyer William E. Ballard at 769-572-5111. No matter how big or small your case is, attorney Ballard is qualified and capable of getting you the compensation you deserve for the injuries you have sustained.
You can reach Ballard Law, PLLC. at:
108 S. President Street
Jackson, MS 39201