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The family of a man killed in an accident involving a stolen police cruiser has filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking over $5 million in damages.
During a press conference today, the family of Henry Holt of West Point, who was killed in the wreck Saturday evening just off the square, asked for witnesses to come forward to give testimony for the lawsuit. The family has retained Bart Durham Injury Law out of Nashville.
According to initial reports by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 49-year-old Misty Shelton, of Flintville, was driving the stolen Fayetteville patrol car and traveling north on Main Avenue at a high rate of speed when the accident occurred at 6:11 p.m.
The patrol car T-boned a 1999 Mitsubishi Mantaro SUV, that was pulling from Maple Street onto Main Avenue. Fifteen-year-old Destany Holt of Fayetteville was driving the Montaro, which had four passengers, including two minors. Among the passengers in the SUV was Henry Holt, 55, of West Point, who was killed in the accident. Also in the vehicle was 35-year-old Monica Holt of Fayetteville.
Two individuals, including Shelton, were flown by helicopter to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. Three others, who were in Holt’s vehicle, were also injured and transported to health facilities. Other than Shelton, injured were Destany Holt, Monica Holt, Deanna Gooding, and Devon Gooding.
With a stolen Fayetteville patrol vehicle being involved in the fatal accident, Fayetteville Police Chief Richard Howell said he had called in the Tennessee Highway Patrol to investigate.
Monday he added that an internal investigation is underway to determine how the Fayetteville Police Department patrol unit was stolen. While he would not address details of the chain of events leading up to the accident, there have been reports that Shelton was in the process of being arrested for shoplifting at the Dollar General Market on Highway 431 when she took the patrol unit. Apparently, a passing patrolman had been flagged down by a man who was involved in an argument with Shelton on the store’s parking lot.
Shelton had an outstanding violation of probation warrant on her and has a long history of arrests, including evading authorities, criminal trespassing, joy riding and introducing contraband into a penal institution, according to records taken from the Lincoln County Jail.
Shelton was transported by ambulance from a Nashville hospital to the Lincoln County Jail Wednesday and booked on several charges, including vehicular homicide.
Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder said soon after Shelton arrived at the jail here, she was promptly booked and then transported by ambulance back to Nashville where she is now being held by the Tennessee Department of Corrections.
In addition to vehicular homicide, she is also charged with theft between $10,000 and $60,000, felony evading and violation of probation.
She is now being held under a $402,500 bond.
While Blackwelder would not comment on Shelton’s condition, sources have indicated that she sustained two severely broken legs in the collision.
To view the lawsuit, filed at 1:07 p.m. Thursday in Lincoln County Circuit Court, click here Holt family vs. City of Fayetteville