TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Whitley County Sheriff Investigation

December 17, 2010

Hodge named in wrongful death suit

CORBIN — Dec. 17, 2010.pdf

By Becky Killian / Managing Editor

Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge is among the parties named in a $12.4 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by a representative of the estate of Cassandra Byrd, according to documents filed in London’s U.S. District Court.

Byrd, 31, died June 5 as she was being arrested by Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Hodge. Byrd reportedly tried to flee and ran into the path of an SUV and was struck and killed.

The lawsuit, filed by Byrd’s estate adminstratix Crystal Lee Meibeyer, names as defendants Whitley County, Lawrence Hodge both as an individual and in his official capacity as sheriff, and current or former deputy Ben Hodge.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 3, said Byrd’s treatment “was the result of a continued pattern of misconduct” by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, court documents state.

The complaint states Byrd was deprived her of civil rights, that she was subjected to unreasonable search and seizure, that she was falsely arrested and had committed no crime, that emotional distress was inflicted upon her, that Ben Hodge acted negligently and that the sheriff’s department failed to train its police officers.

Meibeyer has asked for a jury trial and court documents state she is seeking $12.4 million.

On June 5, county officials said Byrd had stopped along the interstate, possibly due to car trouble. Whitley County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Ben Hodge stopped to check on the car and the driver and found Byrd was intoxicated.

Ben Hodge tried to arrest Byrd, who reportedly escaped his custody and ran into the highway where she was struck by a passing SUV and killed, police said.

Byrd died from blunt force head trauma, blunt force trauma to the extremities and blunt force trauma to the chest, according to Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley. 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 showed Byrd’s blood alcohol content was .224, Croley said. The legal limit in Kentucky is .08. The test also was positive for THC, the active ingredient found in marijuana.

A large bag of marijuana and alcohol were found in Byrd’s car, Croley said.

1
Text Only
Whitley County Sheriff Investigation
  • 1101 Lawrence Hodge.jpg Hodge pleads guilty

    “Guilty.” That word was uttered 21 times by former Whitley County sheriff Lawrence Hodge during a hearing Thursday in which Hodge was slated to enter a plea.

    November 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • Hodge court appearance postponed

    Former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence “Larry” Hodge, now jailed in Elkton Federal Prison in Ohio convicted on federal charges, was slated for his first court appearance Monday to face several state charges.

    July 30, 2013

  • Hodge to appear in court

    Arrangements to transport former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence “Larry” Hodge back to Whitley County to face several charges are not yet complete.

    June 5, 2013

  • Fritts handed 15-year sentence

    “You didn’t say ‘no.’” That’s what U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove told Doyle “Stan Boy” Fritts Thursday, who was found guilty in February of several charges related to a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone with his brothers.

    December 21, 2012

  • Fritts sentenced to 15 years

    Doyle "Stan Boy" Fritts, found guilty in February of several charges related to a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone with his brothers, received a 15-year sentence today from U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove.

    December 20, 2012

  • Whitley Sheriff’s Office receives good audit

    Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell received a good report from the Kentucky state auditor’s office Thursday.
    2012 Whitley Sheriff's Audit.pdf

    November 2, 2012

  • 911 director not indicted in Lawrence Hodge case

    A Whitley County Grand jury did not indict Whitley County 911 Director Chuck Davis on a charge related to missing money when Davis worked as a detective under former sheriff Lawrence Hodge.

    October 17, 2012

  • Whitley Grand Jury hears evidence on 911 Director

    The Whitley County Grand Jury heard evidence concerning 911 Director Chuck Davis during its meeting on Sept. 5, but continued the case to be investigated further, according to court documents.

    September 24, 2012

  • Audit of former sheriff Hodge’s office released

    An audit of former Whitley County sheriff Lawrence Hodge’s 2010 tax settlement account has been released by Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen.

    August 1, 2012

  • Hodge pretrial conference postponed

    A pre-trial conference set for Monday for former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge has been postponed due to concerns of the Kentucky Bureau of Prisons, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble.

    May 7, 2012