FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Taxpayers are shelling out big bucks for a fatal mistake by a Kentucky State Trooper.
A deadly accident involving a state police spokesperson happened in September 2011. A Troubleshooter Investigation uncovered documents revealing the accident cost more than a woman's life - and internal letters from the Kentucky State Police Department show KSP believed if they didn't settle the case for hundreds of thousands of dollars they risked losing even more in court.
The family of Nurcan Ceylan received $550,000 for signing a release to drop Kentucky State Police from all legal liability for the fatal accident that happened on September 15, 2011.
On that day, a cruiser driven by Trooper Jonathan Biven crossed the center line and slammed into Ceylan's driver side on a rural stretch of Highway 31-W in Barren County. She died of multiple blunt force injuries.
Her boyfriend Samuel Parker was in the passenger seat.
"Out of nowhere, and I mean literally our of nowhere, he came right into our lane," Parker said in a November 16, 2012 interview.
KSP's collision report faulted Trooper Biven, a media spokesman for the Bowling Green post, for "inattention" and not keeping his cruiser under control.
But the final investigation never pin pointed the cause of that "inattention" concluding only that the collision occurred due to Trooper Biven crossing into the oncoming lane and striking Ceylan's driver side.
"It doesn't get any easier," Parker said in November. "Her thoughts are with me everyday."
According to a copy of the $550,000 settlement paid to Ceylan's family, obtained through an open records request, $350,000 came from KSP's insurance policy. The other $200,000 was paid by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Both are the maximum amount the family could receive in a settlement from the State.
But it appears some within Kentucky State Police worried the payout could have been even higher if a lawsuit ever went to court. In letters to Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who had to sign off on the settlement, KSP's office of legal services wrote "settlement of the case for the sum offered is a reasonable compromise in light of the potential for an adverse verdict" and that "the proposed settlement is in the best interests of the commonwealth from a business judgement perspective."
We have previously contacted the attorney for the family of Ceylan and he declined to comment. There is no evidence that the family was unhappy with the settlement or feels that is was unjust.
The settlement does not release KSP from a second lawsuit brought by Parker.
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