Family of deceased Edmond motorcycle officer suing suspect’s employer for damages

EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – More than a month after an accident ended the life of an Edmond Police Department motorcycle officer, his family is suing the driver charged in the accident with the employer of the era in a wrongful death lawsuit.

According to the documents, the family and their attorneys say Coontz Roofing, Inc. should never have let the suspect drive one of their utility vehicles.

July 19e, Oklahoma City Police say Jay Fite, 54, rammed his Coontz Roofing work truck into Sgt. CJ Nelson’s motorcycle along the Broadway Extension.

Jay Fite, Oklahoma County Detention Center

According to the new lawsuit, Nelson was “ejected from said motorcycle and forcibly struck the ground/pavement upon landing. The 38-year-old father-of-two later died in hospital.

CJ Nelson Edmond Police Department
CJ Nelson, Edmond Police

A probable cause affidavit shows Fite telling investigators he was “overworked and very tired” and that he was “going too fast and unable to stop his vehicle”.

According to Oklahoma City police, who investigated the crash, blood tests later showed Fite had methamphetamine in his system during the crash.

Now, attorneys allege Coontz Roofing Inc. should have known about Fite’s prior substance use and “travel violations while operating commercial vehicles”, meaning he was “unfit and not qualified to drive a commercial vehicle on public roads”.

Legal expert, Ed Blau, looked into the News 4 lawsuit to give his unbiased opinion.

“There is no requirement for companies, which have company vehicles, which their employees drive, to undergo a drug test,” Blau said. They should always do a full background check to see if there is anything in their past. If there is, then that’s a major red flag.

“The other thing she alleges is that the company did not have adequate training and ongoing supervision of its drivers regarding both driving quality and drug or alcohol use, that is. i.e. drug testing,” Blau said.

News 4 called Coontz Roofing Inc. at all three locations multiple times, but the calls went straight to voicemail. We went to the Edmond business and knocked on the locked door several times. However, there was never a response.

Crews also called Nelson’s family attorneys twice, but we never heard back.

They are claiming $100,000 in damages.

According to online court records, Fite only has a few speeding tickets.

About Frances R. Smith

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