City of Cincinnati sued over chase that killed two, injured two
CAMPBELL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – The estates of Raymond and Gayle Laible and Steven and Maribeth Klein filed suit today against the City of Cincinnati and CPD officers Timothy Lanter, Brett Thomas, and Donald Scalf, along with other parties (Laible-Klein – Complaint FILED).
According to attorneys, the lawsuit attacks the chase, led by Lanter, through Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport on August 7, 2020, that resulted in the deaths of Raymond and Gayle Laible and severe injuries to Steven and Maribeth Klein.
The lawsuit claims Mason Meyer was under investigation by police and Lanter began to tail him and then turned on his lights and sirens. Meyer, who had been obeying traffic laws until that point, accelerated and began to flee. Lanter initiated a vehicle pursuit, the lawsuit alleges.
Thomas joined Lanter, and they pursued Meyer through busy streets during rush hour on a sunny Friday afternoon with Lanter leading and Thomas following, according to the lawsuit.
The pursuit continued with several near accidents until finally it reached the intersection of 5th Street and Monmouth Avenue where Meyer’s vehicle jumped the curb, striking the Laibles, who had been dining on a sidewalk patio of Press, and throwing Steven and Maribeth Klein, who were walking on the sidewalk, several yards onto the concrete, the lawsuit alleges.
The Laibles both died. The Kleins were seriously injured.
The lawsuit claims the city acknowledged the dangers and that Lanter has a history of unsafe driving, including initiating a 2011 pursuit that ended fatally for bystanders. Lanter has been involved in at least five other crashes while on duty, including multiple crashes where he was at fault, according to the lawsuit.
The Estates of Raymond and Gayle Laible are represented by attorneys at Friedman, Gilbert + Gerhardstein. The Kleins are represented by attorneys at Graydon.
Angela Endress, daughter of Raymond and Gayle Laible, states, “Our family is heartbroken. We are shocked that the CPD allowed this chase to happen, and are horrified that these officers are still on the streets. We don’t want any other family to experience a loss as we have. The CPD has to make sure that its officers don’t needlessly cause the death of even one more person. We have seen Cincinnati police engage in too many reckless pursuits. We hope through this lawsuit to change that practice and make the city safer.”
“This pursuit was shockingly reckless and violated not only CPD policies but also common sense. There was no need to apprehend Meyer on that day — CPD knew where he lived and where he frequented and had other options for when and how to take him into custody. The risk to the public posed by this pursuit was obvious from the start and became undeniable as the chase continued. Raymond and Gayle Laible’s deaths, and the injuries to Steven and Maribeth Klein, were completely preventable and absolutely, tragically unnecessary” states Jacqueline Greene, partner at Friedman, Gilbert + Gerhardstein. “This chase never should’ve been initiated, and it should have been called off long before the crash. CPD’s failure to acknowledge—and prevent—the extraordinary risk to the public created by these officers is utterly unacceptable,” said Greene.
Raymond and Gayle Laible were 81 and 80 at the time of their deaths.
Steven and Maribeth Klein, a young couple with children, had their world turned upside down from their injuries and the trauma of the crash, according to their attorneys.
The city declined comment about the lawsuit.