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Multi-million dollar settlements reached against MSD, former driver after death of LMPD detective

Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 9:18 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Two civil lawsuits have been settled on behalf of the estate of a Louisville Metro Police Department detective who died in a crash caused, investigators report, by former Metro Sewer District driver Roger Burdette.

Two settlements totaling almost $14 million for Detective Deidre Mengedoht’s young son were announced over the weekend, Ron Hillerich, one of the attorneys working for Mengedoht’s mother, confirmed.

After 14 hours of mediation, MSD and Burdette’s civil cases came to a close Saturday night.

“After a tough day of negotiating, the claims got resolved,” Hillerich explained.

The settlement comes more than two years after the deadly 2018 Christmas Eve crash that killed Mengedoht. Police said the LMPD detective and young mother had pulled over a driver on I-64 under the Belvedere when then MSD driver Roger Burdette slammed into her cruiser, killing her.

“It was our opinion that Roger Burdette was extremely negligent in how he was operating that tanker truck that day,” said Hillerich. “MSD as his employer, in my opinion, was vicariously responsible for Mr. Burdette.”

In his criminal case, Burdette faces multiple charges, including murder, wanton endangerment, and aggravated DUI.

“Deidre Mengedoht was 32 years old. She was loved by this community. She was a well-respected police officer,” Hillerich said. “The letters of commendation in her file were so many, they can’t even be counted, so I think the settlement is an acknowledgement of what she did for the community.”

Arguing the loss of earning money and pain and suffering, Hillerich and attorney Jim Ellis represented Mengedoht’s estate for her mother and were awarded $10 million, while $3.65 million was awarded to clients of attorney Tad Thomas.

Hillerich said that Mengedoht’s young son is the beneficiary of both claims.

A third civil case is outstanding involving victims from the car that was pulled over the day Mengedoht was killed.

Roger Burdette has a pre-trial hearing in March, and his trial is expected in the summer.

A statement from attorneys in the law office of Thomas reads: “We can confirm the matter was mediated Saturday and mediator Pete Palmer was able to secure a preliminary agreement pending final paperwork. Unfortunately, no amount of money can replace this loving mother and dedicated police officer who was tragically taken from her son and our community all too soon. We continue to ask that Roger Burdette be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

In a statement, MSD said, “The family of Officer Mengedoht, the community and MSD continue to mourn the loss of Officer Deidre Mengedoht. We continue to offer our condolences.”

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