The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office has settled a lawsuit with the family of a firefighter killed during a police chase three years ago.
North Greenville Fire Department Lt. Jordan Howard was not involved in the chase, but died after a suspect fleeing deputies struck his motorcycle head-on. He was 30 years old.
WYFF-TV reports widow Amber Howard agreed to a $225,000 settlement last week with the sheriff’s office, then-Sheriff Steve Loftis and the county.
The Sheriff’s Office said at the time a deputy was investigating a report of a stolen truck at a convenience store in September 2015 when he spotted two pickups parked end-to-end. A suspect in one of the trucks John Kennedy immediately began driving toward the deputy, who ordered the driver to stop. But the pickup continued driving towards the officer. Loftis said the deputy pulled out his gun and fired several shots into the truck as it headed towards him. One bullet shattered the windshield, but the truck kept going, hitting the deputy in the lower body.
A second deputy then pursued the pickup down S.C. Highway 253, but lost sight of the driver. A third deputy later spotted the vehicle on U.S. 276 and the chase continued. But Loftis said it was called off after Kennedy crossed the center line and began driving in the wrong lane along U.S. Highway 25. Less than a mile further, the pickup crashed head-on into Howard’s motorcycle.
Dashboard camera video showed deputies turning off their blue lights and reducing their speed roughly a minute after Kennedy crossed over into oncoming traffic.
Kennedy fled the crash scene, but was caught minutes later. He pleaded guilty in 2016 to attempted murder, failure to stop for blue lights resulting in death, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, reckless homicide and grand larceny. He is serving a 30-years prison sentence.