Kyle Barnett Jul. 31, 2014, 10:40am


GRETNA – The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and a motorist are being sued by the City of New Orleans over an accident that allegedly occurred between a motorcycle police officer who was struck while directing traffic for First Lady Michelle Obama’s motorcade.

City of New Orleans filed suit against Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, an unknown Jefferson Parish deputy, Carlen Sparks and her insurance provider State Farm Automobile Insurance Company in the 24th Judicial District Court on June 30.

The City of New Orleans alleges that on July 23, 2013 New Orleans Police Department officer Cleveland Johnson was involved in a collision with Sparks while the NOPD, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Secret Service were working to secure a safe route through the area for the First Lady.

The plaintiff claims that as Johnson was atop a motorcycle directing traffic near Ames Boulevard and August Avenue, an unknown JPSO deputy waved Sparks through and she collided with Johnson throwing him off the motorcycle and to the pavement. According to the lawsuit, Johnson received workers' compensation benefits and that his employer is entitled to recover the amount from the defendants plus damages.

The unknown JPSO deputy is accused of failing to act in a safe and prudent manner, failing to maintain a proper lookout, failing to follow the instructions to direct traffic away from the intersection and negligently allowing a car to pass.

Sparks is accused of failing to act in a safe and prudent manner, failing to maintain a proper lookout, failing to follow an officer’s directions and negligently truing when she was aware of an officer's presence.

An unspecified amount is sought for all damages.

The City of New Orleans is represented by Derek M. Mercadal, assistant city attorney for the City of New Orleans.

The case has been assigned to Division J Judge Stephen C. Grefer.

Case no. 739-873.

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