A recently filed lawsuit claims that two Soddy-Daisy police officers, one of whom has been under FBI investigation for a separate matter, conspired to bury evidence in a fatal crash because the driver is the son of a Hamilton County sheriff's deputy.
The deputy, Greggory Carson, is facing his own lawsuit in a separate incident after allegedly beating a man so severely in 2017 that one of the man's testicles ruptured, according to the sheriff's office's internal affairs investigation.
According to the Soddy-Daisy lawsuit, 19-year-old Christina Conner was riding in a vehicle driven by 22-year-old Kyle Carson on Oct. 27, 2019.
The two were traveling south on Dayton Pike when Kyle Carson lost control of the vehicle, crossed the center line and struck a concrete barrier on a bridge, the lawsuit alleges. The car spun multiple times before coming to rest in a ditch on the right side of the road.
Conner, a volunteer firefighter, was severely injured and died shortly thereafter.
After initially suing Kyle Carson individually, Conner's parents, represented by attorney Ronald Berke, have filed a second lawsuit — this time against the city of Soddy-Daisy, its former police chief Jeff Gann and officer Jeff Rahn.
The suit against Kyle Carson has been temporarily put on hold pending the outcome of his criminal charges. He was indicted on March 4 on multiple charges, including criminally negligent homicide, but none relating to driving under the influence.
The lawsuit against the city and officers claims several acts of negligence throughout the investigation, something Berke argues amounts to "constructive fraud to violate the public's confidence in the trustworthiness of the Soddy-Daisy Police Department."
City and police department representatives did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
According to the suit, officer Jerry Workman was in charge of traffic investigations for the Soddy-Daisy Police Department and responded to the scene.
Gann reportedly instructed officer Rahn to take over the investigation. And, while "it is not certain what Officer Workman was asked to do that Officer Workman felt was inappropriate, Officer Workman, the most qualified person in the Soddy-Daisy Police Department to handle this investigation, took himself off the case," Berke notes in the suit.
Rahn and Gann are friends with Greggory Carson, Kyle Carson's father, Berke alleges. And Rahn either called or had someone call Greggory Carson to the scene of the crash.
Kyle Carson had allegedly admitted to multiple officers that he had been drinking alcohol, according to the suit. Because of that, Rahn had a warrant to draw his blood.
But Kyle Carson's blood was not taken to the Soddy-Daisy Police Department or logged into evidence, the lawsuit claims, and his blood was not tested at the hospital.
Greggory Carson allegedly "told several people at the hospital that Kyle Carson could not be prosecuted since there was no blood to test," the lawsuit states.
Dash camera footage had also "disappeared," the suit claims. And Rahn "waited two weeks and one day" to try to collect security footage from nearby businesses, a delay that meant most video would have already been taped over.
Three witnesses who were at the scene of the crash and called 911 were not interviewed by Soddy-Daisy police, the suit alleges, adding that numerous other witnesses who were at a party where Kyle Carson had allegedly been drinking were also not interviewed.
Additionally, Gann had known Conner's mother for years, according to the lawsuit, which also alleges that both officers knew Conner personally because she was a volunteer firefighter for the Soddy-Daisy and Sequoyah areas.
"The defendants knew that the tragic death of the daughter of the plaintiffs would be a horrible event in their lives," Berke argues, "and that it would be important for the plaintiffs to know what really happened and to believe that justice was done."
The two "conspired to defraud the plaintiffs and the public in their attempt to accomplish the unlawful purpose of concealing evidence to help the son of a friend and fellow officer," Berke argues.
"Prior actions of defendants Gann and Rihn [sic] should have caused them to be fired, or at least not be placed in charge of the investigation involving the son of their friend and deputy police officer who patrolled the Soddy-Daisy area for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department."
Rahn has been under investigation by the FBI, reportedly for beating a handcuffed man in 2019 and then bragging about it, the Times Free Press reported previously. The incident was reportedly captured on home security footage.
Gann resigned from his position as chief in February after an investigation for "unbecoming conduct" was opened against him. The investigation, conducted by the sheriff's office, found that Gann, while still on duty, drove his department-issued 2019 Ford Explorer to a hotel in Dayton, Tennessee. There, he met with the wife of another Soddy-Daisy police officer.
Gann was a 22-year veteran of the department.