Judge takes accident case under advisement

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2004

VIDALIA &045;&045; After two days of arguments and witness testimonies, a civil case against the Town of Ferriday and its police department from a 1999 vehicle accident is still in the courts awaiting a decision.

Judge Leo Boothe said Wednesday he was taking the case under advisement.

He gave both sides 20 days to submit briefs and 10 days for any rebuttals before he will make a decision in the case.

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Boothe heard the case Monday and until almost 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

According to the original cases filed in the Concordia Parish Clerk of Court’s Office, on July 7, 1999, Harold Whitehead, driving a 1992 Cadillac, turned left onto Maryland Avenue from U.S. 65 with Wanda Baker Smith as his passenger. Ferriday Police Officer Terence Williams was chasing a vehicle without his blue lights on and struck Whitehead’s vehicle. Whitehead died from the accident and Smith was severely injured.

Smith and Whitehead’s family, Eddie Whitehead, et al, filed separate cases against the City of Ferriday, Terence Williams and the Ferriday Police Department. The two cases have been consolidated into one from the accident.

From Smith’s case, the complaint said Williams failed to keep proper lookout, maintain control of the vehicle, take the necessary actions to avoid a collision, to timely apply the brakes, to obey rules of traffic and to see what should have been seen.

Also, the suit said Williams was negligently pursuing a suspect by not using proper police procedure, not have his lights on, and for driving at an excessive speed.

Not only was Smith filing the case against Williams, but also the Ferriday Police Department, the City of Ferriday, Harold Whitehead executor, ABC Insurance Co. and Risk Management Inc. The Whitehead case named the City of Ferriday, Williams and Ferriday Police Department.

The Smith case also accused Whitehead of negligence in making a left turn onto Maryland Avenue from U.S. 65, into the lane Williams’ vehicle was being driven.

Witness testimony and evidence included medical records for Smith and accident reconstruction reports.

Both parties were seeking damages, including medical expenses.