LOUISVILLE, KY - The City of Louisville must pay for unspecified damages sought by the family of the victim killed by an off-duty Louisville police officer, according to The Courier-Journal.
Although Kenten Measle, the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officer charged in the lawsuit, hadn't officially started his shift when he struck and killed Donnie Puente in 2006, he was still considered "on-duty" since he was in a police cruiser.
A Jefferson Circuit Court judge ruled July 28 that officers driving to and from work are on the job even if they are not on duty, reported the Journal.
Judge Mary Shaw ruled that LMPD officers driving in a police cruiser are required by department policy to help stranded motorists, respond to calls for service or stop for a traffic accident, and render aid - thus, they are on-duty even while driving to and from work in these vehicles.
Shaw's ruling was limited to officers driving to and from work. The judge said Kentucky law finds an employee benefiting his employer during travel to and from work would be within the scope of employment.
Measle reportedly has a history of reckless driving behavior while driving department vehicles, according to the Journal. Personnel records obtained by the Journal show past incidents include a written reprimand in 2000 for crashing into a sign while turning and causing more than $500 in damage driving carelessly over a depression in the roadway in 1996.
In addition, Measle - who was reportedly driving about 68 mph in a 55 mph zone when he struck Puente in 2006 - continued his reckless driving behavior even after the fatal accident in 2006, injuring a bicyclist in 2008 while making a left turn, according to the Journal.