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Relatives of cyclist killed in Norfolk crash sue officers

The Virginian-Pilot: Relatives of cyclist killed in Norfolk crash sue officers

The estate of Donnell Worsley filed suit this week against two Norfolk police officers.

By Louis Hansen
The Virginian-Pilot
© December 8, 2011

NORFOLK

The family of a man killed after he was struck by a Norfolk police vehicle while riding his bike has sued two officers for wrongful death.

The estate of Donnell Worsley filed suit this week against Norfolk police officers Joey Bennett Jr. and Derek Folston, who were involved in the July 2010 crash that took Worsley's life.

The officers were driving in separate police vehicles downtown around 1 a.m. July 25 when they received a nonemergency call according to court testimony. The two drove side-by-side over the Campostella Bridge, where Worsley was crossing the road on his bicycle, court records state.

Folston's car struck Worsley near the 1600 block of E. Brambleton Ave., court records state. Worsley was in a coma and died several months later. He was 34.

Bennett and Folston were convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving. They are on indefinite suspension from the force without pay, a city spokeswoman Lori Crouch said. Crouch declined to comment on the lawsuit, which does not name the city as a defendant.

The civil suit claims Bennett and Folston raced across the Campostella Bridge in excess of 60 mph without emergency lights. The posted speed limit is 30 mph. The suit claims the officers failed to operate their vehicles prudently while responding to the nonemergency call.

Worsley's family is seeking $33 million. The family's attorney, Carl La Mondue, said Worsley hoped to one day open a massage studio. The family is "still trying to reconcile this sudden loss," he said.

Worsley worked at Atlantic Dominion and trained to become a massage therapist, according to his obituary.

Jon Babineau, Bennett's attorney, said the suit was "significantly flawed" and not supported by facts. He said the incident was a tragedy but the two officers did not act with gross negligence.

Folston and his attorney did not return messages seeking comment.