By Ed Runyan
A Liberty woman and her son rear-ended by an off- duty Mahoning County deputy sheriff in a July 9 car crash in Niles filed suit against the deputy and the owner of the car he was driving.
The lawsuit accuses Deputy Amos B. Case, 31, of North Road in Niles of acting negligently in the accident. Case was on medical leave from the sheriff’s office at the time of the crash.
Tracy L. Finney, 44, of Mansell Drive in Liberty, filed the suit in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, along with her son, Raymond, seeking damages against Case and Amanda Cindea of Stiles Street Northwest in Warren.
The suit, filed a couple of weeks after the accident, says Case was driving a vehicle owned by Cindea, whom the lawsuit says was Case’s employer, at the intersection of North Road and U.S. Route 422.
Niles police said Case drove into the back of the Finney vehicle at 1:22 a.m., causing serious injuries to Tracy Finney.
Police officers detected the smell of alcoholic beverages coming from Case and conducted field-sobriety and blood-alcohol tests, eventually charging him with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and failure to maintain assured clear distance.
Case admitted he had two or three drinks. His speech was slurred, and he was slow to respond to basic questions, police said.
His blood-alcohol reading was 0.037, below the legal limit of 0.08.
Earlier this month, Case was found guilty of failure to control in the crash and ordered to pay $261 in fines and court costs in Niles Municipal Court.
As a result of the negligence of Case and Cindea, the lawsuit alleges, Tracy and Raymond Finney each suffered injuries to the head, back, neck and other parts of the body, causing pain and permanent damage.
Tracy Finney also had damage to her 2002 Dodge Stratus of $10,000 plus towing charges, storage costs and other expenses.
Each of the Finneys seeks compensatory damages of at least $25,000 from Case and Cindea and at least $10,000 for vehicle damage.
The attorney for Case and Cindea filed an answer in the case, denying that Case and Cindea were negligent or committed any wrongful conduct.
Jaime Walton, Tracy Finney’s mother, says her daughter’s injuries resulted in her being in a coma just after the accident and having a brain bleed and blood clot.
The injuries caused her to lose her ability to speak and move for a time. She’s not allowed to work and requires 24-hour attention. She is at home but requires seizure medication, has headaches and vision problems, Walton said.
Case was hired as a deputy in 2007 and most recently was assigned to work in the county jail. He went on medical leave in June, said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.