EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – More than a month since a crash ended the life of an Edmond Police Department motorcycle officer, his family is suing the driver charged in the crash along with the employer at the time in a wrongful death lawsuit.
According to the documents, the family and their attorneys allege Coontz Roofing, Inc. should have never let the suspect behind the wheel of one of their commercial vehicles.
On July 19th, Oklahoma City Police said Jay Fite, 54, slammed his Coontz Roofing work truck into Sgt. CJ Nelson’s motorcycle along the Broadway Extension.
According to the new lawsuit, Nelson was “ejected from the said motorcycle and forcibly struck the ground/pavement upon his landing. The 38-year-old father of two later died at the hospital.
A probable cause affidavit shows Fite told investigators he was “overworked and very tired” and was “going too fast and was not able to stop his vehicle.”
According to Oklahoma City Police, who investigated the crash, said blood tests later showed Fite had meth in his system during the crash.
Now, attorneys allege Coontz Roofing Inc., should have known about Fite’s prior substance use and his “moving violations while operating commercial vehicles,” meaning he was “unfit and unqualified to operate a commercial vehicle on public roadways.”
Legal expert, Ed Blau, took a look at the lawsuit for News 4 to give his impartial opinion.
“There’s no requirement that companies, that have company vehicles, that their employees drive have any type of drug testing,” said Blau. They should always do a full background check to see if there’s anything in their past. If there is, then that’s a major red flag.”
“The other thing it’s alleging is that the company did not have adequate training and ongoing supervision of their drivers regarding both the quality of driving and regarding any drug or alcohol usage, meaning drug testing,” said Blau.
News 4 called Coontz Roofing Inc. at all three locations multiple times, but the calls went directly to voicemail. We went to the Edmond business and knocked on the locked door multiple times. However, there was never an answer.
Crews also called the attorneys for Nelson’s family twice, but we never heard back.
They are seeking $100,000 in damages.
According to online court records, Fite only has a couple of speeding tickets.