Police officer named In lawsuit after alleged failure to search for motorcyclist

Kyle Barnett Dec. 8, 2011, 10:49am

A lawsuit filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court says a Crescent City Connection police officer was negligent in the death of hit-and-run victim Joseph L. McGinn.

According to the suit, McGinn was driving his motorcycle on the Crescent City Connection toll bridge on the evening of March 17 when he was struck by an unknown driver in a hit-and-run.

Officer Lance Lavigne responded to a call of a motorcycle down on the bridge. Once on the scene the officer only inspected the motorcycle in the roadway and did not try to find its driver who had fallen out of sight to the side of a roadway ramp, the suit claims. McGinn is said to have lain in the spot for the next 14 hours before dying of dehydration.

McGinn's body was found the next morning by a water company employee, the suit states.

The suit also states that Lavigne knew the motorcyclist was missing, but made no attempt to find him. In addition, Lavigne allegedly dismissed a tow truck driver who warned him to search for the driver of the motorcycle following the accident.

McGinn's wife, Ambre P. McGinn, and two sons are seeking damages from Lavigne, the Crescent City Bridge Authority and ABC Insurance.

The suit was brought on behalf of the McGinn estate by James E. Shields, of Gretna-based Shields and Shields Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to Section G Judge Robin Giarrusso.

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