REPUBLIC, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri city has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of an epileptic man who was killed by a police sergeant after suffering a seizure while driving.
The family’s attorney, Jermaine Wooten, said Thursday in announcing the settlement that he doesn’t believe Sgt. John Tinsley was in danger when he fatally shot 48-year-old Destry Meikle in February 2016 in the city of Republic, the Springfield News-Leader reports .
City spokesman Michael Landis told The Associated Press it was in the “best interest for taxpayers, the city and the victim’s family to put it behind us, move forward and avoid a long, drawn out costly trial.” He said Friday that the city is still awaiting details from the attorneys for its insurance company. The settlement hasn’t yet gone before a judge for formal approval.
The family says Meikle had a seizure while driving that caused him to crash into a pair of garages, sparking a fire underneath his vehicle. Tinsley said he broke out the rear passenger window to try to help Meikle, whom he claimed cussed, put the car in reverse and backed up. Tinsley said he was knocked to the ground.
Tinsley said he stood up and then heard what sounded like the vehicle being shifted into gear and saw the car lunge toward him again. The suit says firefighters later determined the car was in reverse. Tinsley said he was afraid for his life and he then shot three times into the vehicle, striking Meikle.
Before dying, Meikle told paramedics he had suffered a seizure, the lawsuit says. Meikle’s family pushed for charges, but Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson found that Tinsley reasonably believed Meikle posed a threat.
Meikle, a father of four, was a manager at a Walmart Supercenter in Springfield and was engaged to be married at the time of his death. Online records indicate he had no criminal record in Missouri.
Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com