Family files wrongful death suit against Varnell, Ga.

Family files wrongful death suit against Varnell, Ga.

May 2nd, 2012 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local - Breaking News

Willard Leon Thurman

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

The family of a Cohutta man killed in a fiery crash with a police officer in early March has filed a lawsuit against Varnell, claiming the officer that hit the 70-year-old man was driving more than 90 mph.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Whitfield County Superior Court, where Leon Thurman's family is asking for up to $750,000 in damages.

Thurman's son, Michael, said the amount was chosen because it's the limit the city of Varnell's insurance will pay in a lawsuit.

Former Varnell officer, James Smith

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

An Georgia State Patrol investigation is ongoing into how fast Varnell Officer James Smith was traveling when he crashed into Leon Thurman as he was crossing Cleveland Highway delivering newspapers early on March 4.

An investigator with the collision reconstruction team said they are still waiting on test results before presenting evidence to the Conasauga Judicial District Attorney's office.