Family of woman killed in police chase files $10M lawsuit - WSMV Channel 4

Family of woman killed in Murfreesboro police chase files $10M lawsuit

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Jessica Campos was killed in the crash last month. (WSMV) Jessica Campos was killed in the crash last month. (WSMV)
MANCHESTER, TN (WSMV) -

An unusual and deadly police chase has led to a $10 million lawsuit brought by the family of the young mother killed against the Coffee and Rutherford counties sheriff’s departments and a Manchester alderman and his funeral home.

The suit alleged Manchester alderman Tim Kilgore, who operates Manchester Funeral Home, played a major role in the chase even though he has no police powers.

“I was going to do everything in my power to get there,” Kilgore told Channel 4 News last week, defending his role in the chase that led to the fatal crash.

The chase involved a suspect who stole an SUV from Kilgore’s funeral home.

“I’d do the same thing again if I thought someone stole our car with a body in it,” said Kilgore. “I’ll run him down, and had I been there, I would have shot him, OK.”

There wasn’t a body inside the SUV. Now Kilgore is one of the parties named in a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by the husband and children of Jessica Miranda Campos, who was killed in the crash on a busy Murfreesboro highway.

The lawsuit alleged that Kilgore was the one who initiated the pursuit, activating illegal blue and red lights on his car.

As the Channel 4 I-Team reported last week, Kilgore admitted getting on the police radio installed in his car and telling officers, "take him out," referring to the suspect who had stolen his vehicle from the funeral home.

Kilgore denied he initiated the pursuit.

The suit alleged Kilgore and the two sheriff’s departments were negligent and placed the public in danger by continuing the high speed pursuit.

It is still under investigation on where Kilgore got a police radio and why he was allowed to talk on the police channel.

“I don’t have that answer,” said Manchester Police Chief Mark Yother.

The district attorney’s office is leading an investigation into Kilgore’s use of the radio and blue lights on his car.

Yother said he has told Kilgore twice before to stop responding to crime scenes since he’s not a police officer.

“It’s hard to say yes when we’re involved in this discussion,” said Yother.

Manchester’s mayor said this could cost Kilgore the chairmanship of the city’s public safety committee. The committee picks its own chairman and Kilgore could be voted out.

“That will probably happen,” said Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman.

The suit also alleged Kilgore and his funeral home are responsible for the death of Campos because the SUV was left running with keys in the ignition.

District Attorney Craig Northcott said he now believes Kilgore was not leading the chase. He said he’s reviewed video from the officer’s dash cams and said the alderman was well behind the officers leading the pursuit.

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