Lawsuit Filed Against Colorado State Patrol After Car Accident

Lawsuit Filed Against Colorado State Patrol After Car AccidentA lawsuit has been filed in federal court against the Colorado State Patrol, alleging that a former Garfield County sheriff caused a car crash that injured three people, and that troopers worked to belittle the accident.

According to the Denver Post, former sheriff Verne Soucie allegedly ran a red arrow on Colorado 82 in Eagle County in November 2009, reportedly turning left in front of a vehicle being driven by the Rivard family.

The ensuing crash allegedly left husband and father David Rivard with third-degree burns and a broken sternum, while his wife, Leanne Rivard, allegedly suffered a concussion from the accident. The married couple’s daughter, Cameron, now 9 years old, suffered a severe ankle injury, and still struggles with nightmares about the accident, the lawsuit said.

Now, the Rivard family is contending that Soucie, who also suffered injuries in the crash, was let off too easily.

“Because he was a former sheriff, it appears he was given breaks that wouldn’t be allowed to ordinary citizens involved in a major injury traffic collision,” said the family’s car accident attorney. “This was not a fender-bender. Both cars were totaled.”

According to KJCT News 8, the family alleges troopers responding to the accident never determined if Soucie had been impaired during the accident, and failed to seek out witnesses for the investigation.

The media outlet states that State Patrol Captain Rich Duran, Sergeant Richard Armstrong and Trooper Mark Barritt were performing the investigation. The complaint alleges that Barritt claimed to have issued Soucie with a citation, but he stated it was lost and the accident never resulted in charges against Soucie.

Later, after facing pressure from the family’s lawyer, the department issued the initial charge, although it had been pleaded down from careless driving to improper mountain driving, which carries a $35 fine, the media outlet stated.

The Rivards are seeking an unspecified award in compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit alleges David Rivard will suffer lifelong harm from the accident, and it will affect his profession as an instrument maker who also plays the keyboard professionally.

The defendants have denied giving Soucie any special treatment, and did not return the Denver Post’s request for a comment.

It is also unclear whether Soucie or the troopers have been served with the suit.