Knoxville police pay state limit in lawsuit following fatal crash involving officer

The mother of a man killed in a crash with a KPD officer sued for $3 million.
The officer involved in a fatal West Knoxville crash has now resigned from the department. (Aerial footage: Pete Michaels)
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 5:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2022 at 8:54 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The family of a man killed in a crash with a Knoxville Police Department officer was paid $300,000, the state limit for suits against governmental agencies, after suing the department.

Mauricio Luna, 27, was pulling onto Kingston Pike near Papermill Drive when he was hit by Officer Cody Klingmann, according to a release from KPD Public Information Officer Scott Erland. Representatives with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who investigated the crash, told WVLT News that Klingmann was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.

Officials with the Knoxville Police Department announced earlier this year that Acting Chief of Police Mark Fortner has accepted Officer Cody Klingmann’s letter of resignation.

Officer Klingmann was the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation into the fatal crash that occurred on the morning of Aug. 13, 2021 on Kingston Pike near Papermill Drive.

Officer Klingmann had been reassigned from patrol and remained on reassignment until his resignation. At the time of his resignation, a pre-disciplinary hearing was scheduled based on the findings of the internal investigation, officials said.

Luna’s mother, Claudia Macias, filed the suit with attorneys T. Scott Jones and Chris Beavers. Macias claimed she’s owed the money to cover funeral expenses and damages for the loss of life, according to the documents.

The court documents alleged that Klingmann was also not using his emergency lights prior to the crash, which occurred around 3 a.m. before the sun had risen. Klingmann was also traveling at 90 miles per hour before slowing to 81 miles per hour at the time of the crash, the documents said.

Jones release a statement after the settlement, as follows:

The filing also alleged that the city of Knoxville was negligent in allowing Klingmann to drive the cruiser, saying they “should have known that he was an unsafe driver.”

Klingmann, who began working with the department in April of 2020, was placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

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