GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One week after an assistant prosecutor resigned over an alcohol-related crash in Grand Rapids, he’s now being sued.
Josh Kuiper is accused of driving the wrong way down Union Avenue SE, hitting Daniel Empson’s car.
Empson was standing by the driver’s side door when the crash happened during the early morning hours of Nov. 19. He told 24 Hour News 8 the impact sent him bouncing along the ground.
On the behalf of Empson, Johnson Law, PLC is suing Kuiper for the cost of Empson’s injuries and petitioning the Grand Rapids Police Department to make sure none of the evidence in the case is destroyed or erased.
“We wanted to file quickly because we wanted to be able to make sure all the things we needed to have were going to be preserved,” attorney Brian Molde explained.
A Grand Rapids Police Department officer, sergeant and a lieutenant are now on administrative leave and are being investigated by Michigan State Police in connection to how the department handled the crash. That’s why they’re also asking the department to preserve all of the evidence involved in the case.
“Obviously of great concern to us is, was there some sort of abuse of power that was going on here? Did he get special treatment? Did that cause us to be left without some of the evidence we’d otherwise have?” Molde said.
Body camera footage shows Kuiper slurring his words following the crash, but the responding officer never administered a breathalyzer on scene or ordered a blood test, so there’s no way to determine whether Kuiper was legally drunk that night.
Empson’s lawyers can prove their plaintiff’s rising medical bills, though.
Since the crash, he’s been treated for fractured vertebrae, back and leg injuries.
“He’s still recovering from those injuries so surgeries are planned and he’s going to be going through this for a long time,” Molde explained.
Empson wants more than compensation for his injuries; he also wants accountability.
“People who are driving in this manner, people who are disobeying the laws that all of us are supposed to be held to shouldn’t get special treatment in a situation like this. And that’s what appeared to have happened,” said Molde.