Family of Louisville Police Officer Killed by Semi-Tanker Settles Wrongful Death Suits
Louisville, KY – The family of a Louisville police officer killed by a semi-truck during a traffic stop in 2018 has reached settlements in two wrongful death lawsuits.
Louisville Metro Police Dept. (LMPD) Detective Deidre “Dee Dee” Mengedoht was conducting a routine traffic stop, with emergency lights on, along Interstate 64 eastbound at approximately 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve of 2018 when a semi-truck operated by 60-year-old Roger Burdette struck the rear of her cruiser.
Det. Mengedoht was inside the cruiser when it was struck.
In January 2019, Mengedoht’s family filed wrongful death lawsuits against the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), which Burdette was employed by and driving for at the time, as well as Burdette.
The suits accused Burdette of gross negligence and the MSD of not properly employing, supervising and training Burdette.
After a lengthy negotiation, the parties have now reached settlements totaling nearly $14 million.
According to multiple local media reports, under the terms of the settlements MSD’s insurance will pay $10 million to the Mengedoht’s estate and $3.65 million to her son, who was nine years old at the time of the crash.
Mengedoht’s mother, who is named as plaintiff in the suits, indicated the boy would receive the entirety of the funds from the settlements.
“Mr. Burdette was grossly, grossly negligent in operating that tanker truck on the day of this accident,” Ron Hillerich, an attorney for the Mengedoht estate told WDRB. “He simply failed to keep a lookout ahead. Whatever his reasons were, he failed to get over and yield the right-of-way to her police car that had her flashing lights on. Simply ran over her. He’s a commercial truck driver and in my opinion, wasn’t paying attention.”
As for Burdette, he faces criminal charges of murder and operating under the influence to which he has pleaded “not guilty.”
The police arrest report says Burdette “made no attempt to avoid collision with (the) police vehicle.”
A field sobriety test was administered to Burdette at the scene, which officials said he failed.
WATCH Burdette’s field sobriety test below:
Burdette denies having had anything to drink that day, but did admit to taking multiple prescription medications.
According to court records, Burdette takes medications for cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as the antidepressant Zoloft.
However, investigators admitted they did not draw Burdette’s blood sample in a two hour window following the accident which is required by law.
Police were not able to collect Burdette’s sample until more than three hours after the the crash, court documents show.
It is important for investigators to collect bloodwork in a timely manner, especially in cases like Burdette’s.
It will be an issue to watch when Burdette’s trial begins later this year.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow the case.