Family of Mascotte crash victim hires attorney

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The family of a grandmother who died in a Lake County crash has hired Orlando attorney Matt Morgan, looking for answers.

Kimberly King, 46, should never have died on May 12, said Morgan.  Her Cadillac Escalade was struck by a vehicle driven by Mylynda Martinez, 27, who was trying to flee from Lake County deputies, according to officials.

Deputies said they followed Martinez after she left a known drug house in Leesburg.  As they tried to stop her, they said she fled to Mascotte.  Moments before the wreck, the Mascotte police chief said they were asked by the Lake County Sheriff's Office to throw out stop sticks, which they said Martinez hit before crashing.  Both women died. 

"She was a devoted mother, a devoted grandmother, and she was headed to pick up her grandchildren and then this senseless tragedy happened," said Morgan of King.  "You have to weigh the importance of stopping the individual with the importance of protecting the safety (of the public), and it seems clear to us, that the safety of the public far outweigh the importance of stopping this woman for rolling through a stop bar."

The chief says his officers followed policy, but an administrative review will also be conducted. While the Lake County Sheriff's Office declined to comment, pending litigation, they recently talked to us about policy.  "If, at any time during the pursuit, the hazards outweigh the importance of stopping that violator, then they're supposed to cancel and break that pursuit," said Lake County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. John Herrell. 

Deputies say, they are conducting an internal investigation to find out what happened. "That review is to determine whether or not there are any training issues that may need to be addressed. If it warrants any disciplinary action or if there are any policy issues that need to be looked at," Herrell added.

Morgan believes this is a nationwide issue that needs to be addressed. "Use this tragedy as a way to teach police officers, not only in Lake County, but across the nation, what not to do when engaging in a pursuit," he said.  Herrell said it is not known when the review will be finished.

A memorial service for Kim King takes place on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Inspired Life Ministries in Groveland.