East Cleveland ordered to pay over $12 million to victims hit by police cruiser

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 10:18 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Ohio Supreme Court ordered the city of East Cleveland to pay more than $12 million in damages and interest to the victims of an accident caused by an East Cleveland police officer in a civil lawsuit 15 years in the making.

In 2017, a jury found that both the city of East Cleveland and one of their police officers were negligent, and “acted with conscious disregard for rights and safety.”

It was October 5, of 2008 when East Cleveland Patrol Officer Todd Carroscia was speeding to the report of a possible stolen motorcycle.

His cruiser slammed into the driver’s side of innocent bystander Charles Hunt’s car in the area of East 140th and Coit in Cleveland.

The impact of the crash was so severe Hunt, the driver was found hanging out of the passenger door. He had broken ribs, broken hips, as well as a traumatic brain injury, and he was in a coma for nearly a week. Hunt’s passenger Merilyn Conrad was also seriously injured with numerous broken bones.

One look at the photos from the crash, and it’s difficult to believe that no one died from the violent crash.

According to Hunt’s attorney, the 61-year-old has been living off of $500 a month. His passenger Merilyn Conard made it to the trial, but died from cancer before ever receiving a penny of the settlement money.

Officer Carroscia claimed at the time he was running with lights and sirens and had the green light, but, it was later determined he was traveling about 70 miles per hour, without his emergency lights and siren activated.

Attorney Justin Hawal with the DiCello Law Firm says the city of East Cleveland has been in fiscal emergency for year, and a one point the city was self-insured, but claim they have no money to pay the judgment.

East Cleveland Council Vice-President Juanita Gowdy says, the administration never informed council about the lawsuit and at least a half a dozen other lawsuits filed against the city. Councilwoman Gowdy say the city has no choice but to pay.

“The council really has to balance the budget, so, the people can actually get paid. Because there’s more than one lawsuit, and we just found that out ourselves. A lot of things are hidden, and today I was shocked to see that.”

Hunt’s attorney says Ohio Law requires certain steps to be followed, including setting up an annual payment plan if all of the funds are not initially available.