Family files wrongful death lawsuit after fatal officer-involved crash

The lawsuit accuses the city of negligently allowing Knoxville Police Officer Cody Klingmann to drive a patrol car because they “should have known that he was an unsafe driver.”

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In response to a Tennessee police officer killing her innocent son in a fatal car crash, the victim’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Friday. According to dash cam footage and court documents, the officer failed to turn on his emergency lights and siren prior to the crash.

Around 3:00 a.m. on August 13, 2021, Knoxville Police Officer Cody Klingmann was responding to a burglary at a Kingston Pike business and began driving 90 miles per hour in his patrol car in a 45 mph zone without activating his lights and siren. According to court documents, Officer Klingmann slowed down to 81 mph before crashing into the driver’s side of Maricio Luna’s Honda Accord.

Luna was pronounced dead at the scene, while Klingmann suffered minor injuries. According to toxicology reports, neither Luna nor Klingmann were impaired at the time of the crash.

Knox County Assistant District Attorney Sean McDermott has confirmed that his office will not seek criminal charges against Klingmann, who was not wearing his seatbelt when his cruiser collided into Luna’s car. Klingmann remains on active duty.

On Friday, Luna’s mother, Claudia Macias, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Klingmann and the city of Knoxville. Her lawsuit is seeking $3 million to cover funeral expenses and damages for the loss of life.

“The reality is (Klingmann) is going so far above the speed limit that (Luna) never would have seen him,” Attorney T. Scott Jones told Knox News. “You lose right of way at that point. Any action by Mr. Luna was reasonable in the circumstances.

“Poor Mr. Luna and his Honda Accord never had a chance. He just never had a chance.”

The lawsuit accuses the city of negligently allowing Klingmann to drive a patrol car because they “should have known that he was an unsafe driver.” Three months before the fatal crash, Klingmann received a verbal reprimand for failing to put his cruiser in park at a gas station, causing it to roll into a gas pump and damage property.

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