, Corbin, KY

Local News

July 27, 2012

Lawsuit against Whitley County officers dropped

CORBIN — By Carl Keith Greene / Staff Writer

A federal lawsuit was dismissed Wednesday in the case of the estate of the late Cassandra Leigh Byrd versus officers of Whitley County.

On June 5, 2010, Byrd, then 31, died in the process of being arrested by Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Hodge.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 3, 2010, in the London Eastern Kentucky Federal Court District, said Byrd’s treatment “was the result of a continued pattern of misconduct” by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.

The complaint called for a jury trial and court documents state that Crystal Lee Meibeyer, administrator of the estate of Byrd, sought $12.4 million.

Byrd reportedly tried to flee and ran into the path of an SUV, was struck and killed.

The incident happened when Ben Hodge and county officials said Byrd had stopped along I-75 with possible car trouble.

Ben Hodge stopped to check on the car and driver and found Byrd was intoxicated.

According to Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley, she died from blunt force head trauma, blunt force trauma to the extremities and blunt force trauma to the chest.

The other significant condition contributing to but not resulting in the underlying cause of death was drug abuse, or intoxication, Croley said.

A toxicology report indicated Byrd’s blood alcohol content was .224, Croley said. The legal limit in Kentucky is .08.

The test was also positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Both alcohol and marijuana were found in Byrd’s car, Croley said.

Defendants in Whitley County were Hon. Pat White Jr., judge/executive; Paul Winchester, county attorney; former Sheriff Lawrence Hodge and Deputy Sheriff Ben Hodge.

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