Samira Rucker and Crystal Robertson filed a civil lawsuit late last week against West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes, ABC Insurance Company and Alberto Casco, nearly five months after Casco hit Clinell Robertson while allegedly driving with a suspended driver’s license.
Rucker is the mother of Robertson’s two children and Crystal Robertson is his widow.
The lawsuit asks for past medical expenses, loss of earnings, past, present and future, loss of earning capacity, past, present and future, pain, suffering and impairment of bodily functions, mental anguish and suffering.
Casco, 20 at the time of the accident, was driving with a suspended license caused by not having paid a ticket issued by the LSU Police Department Apr. 5, and later an arrest warrant was issued for Casco.
At the time of the accident, Maj. Zachary Simmers said when the Sheriff’s Office hired Casco Feb. 1, the suspension and arrest warrant did not show up in the background check run with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
“I can tell you now, he had a suspended license, there’s no getting around that,” spokesman Simmers said in April. “Whether he knew about it or not, we don’t know that.”
The initial investigation reported the wreck occurred as Casco was traveling southbound on La. 1 in a Sheriff’s Office van while he was on duty as a deputy. Robertson received fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by the West Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office.
Simmers said Casco was placed on paid administrative leave after the accident pending the results of an investigation requested of Louisiana State Police. He has since been terminated.
The State Police reported Casco tested negative for blood alcohol content (BAC).
In May, the State Police reported Robertson's toxicology showed his BAC to have been 0.225 at the time of the crash, according to the West Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office and "there were also positive findings of cocaine and THC in his system.
The State Police conclusion is that Casco "reacted the same as an average person would have considering the pedestrian's dark clothing" and his reaction time consistent with the time it would take an average person.
Rucker reiterates Casco’s suspended license in her lawsuit and added the suspension was the result of the deputy having been ticketed for “excessive speeding and multiple road lighting violations.”
She also included in the lawsuit that Casco was driving without auto insurance at the time of the wreck.
Rucker’s claim against Cazes is that as “the policymaker for the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office” and his employees “did not act professionally in hiring Casco without first doing a proper background check” on the now-suspended deputy.
The background check, she indicates in the lawsuit, “would have shown that Casco’s driver’s license was suspended and that an active East Baton Rouge Parish warrant” for the deputy’s immediate arrest was outstanding when Casco was hired by the Sheriff’s Office.
Rucker goes on to claim in the lawsuit she is suing Cazes for the Sheriff’s Office’s “policies of inadequate screening and/or training of its officers and/or employees,” and “improper supervision of said officers and/or employees,” which allowed the hiring of Casco, which she says is an “abuse of their authority.”
“These defendants are therefore liable to plaintiffs for the death of Clinell Robertson,” the lawsuit continues.