Knox County Sheriff’s Office Denies Liability in Officer-Initiated Car Wreck Property Damage Suit. Knox County Deputy Law Director’s reason: “You can’t sue the King.”

A video of the incident from the KCSO Officer’s body camera is provided here 

The complete one and a half hour incident from the KCSO Officer’s body camera is here.

Knox County and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office have denied any liability in a November 2021 officer-initiated car wreck resulting in more than $26,000 in private property damage, and $31,700 in total damages to the Fox Lake Apartment Homes office building along with a private car owner.

Knox County Deputy Law Director J. Myers Morton also filed a motion to dismiss Fox Lake, GP’s Civil Sessions lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office, citing sovereign immunity. Morton explained his reason to file for dismissal to Steve Williams, Owner and Chief Managing Partner of Fox Lake, GP, as “You can’t sue the King.”

At approximately 4:22 a.m. on November 19, 2021, Knox County Sheriff’s Officer Grecu pushed an unoccupied disabled vehicle out of the roadway of Fox Lonas Road in West Knoxville, onto private property of Fox Lake, GP. As Officer Grecu pushed the car onto the property, he lost control of the vehicle causing the red Ford Focus to leave the asphalt and crash into the front of the Fox Lake Apartment Homes Leasing Office, causing structural and substantial damage.

Officer Grecu was wearing an Axon Body Camera at the time of the incident. A representative for Fox Lake, GP, received Officer Grecu’s Axon Body Camera footage following a Public Records request.

Body camera footage shows Officer Grecu knew the driver of the vehicle was outside the car when he started pushing the vehicle, and therefore had no way to control the direction or speed of the vehicle while going downhill.

Steve Williams, Owner and Chief Managing Partner of Fox Lake, GP, said, “We just want to be made whole. We have always had a good relationship with Knox County and the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office just needs to do the right thing, own a mistake, and make us whole. It’s not right for the government to destroy private property and then have an attorney say, “You can’t sue the King.”

Several KCSO officers responded to the scene immediately following the crash. The officers are heard in the video saying, “George Grecu has now pushed a car through a house,” “You destroyed a building,” “That’s property damage,” “Oh my God, I hope this goes on the news,”  “They’re going to call Admin,” and “They’ve already made the notifications …  since you were pushing,” among other statements and dialogue proving not only that the fellow responding officers believed Officer Grecu and the Sheriff’s Office were responsible for the resulting property damage, but also that the nature of the incident (the officer pushed the unoccupied car down a hill) warranted Knox County Sheriff’s Office Administration be notified immediately of the incident.

“I was shocked and disappointed to hear how callously the Sheriff’s officers handled this event. On the video, the officers seem to think it is funny to run someone’s car through a building. Not only did they cause significant damage to our building, but they also totaled a woman’s car. They won’t make us or the owner of the car whole again. And now they’re saying we can’t sue for the damages because, “You can’t sue the King,” as Deputy Law Director Morton told me over a phone call last week. Do we have a king in Knox County?” Williams asked.

Fox Lake Apartment Homes (legal entity Fox Lake, GP), is a West Knoxville apartment community owned and managed by The Williams Company, LLC. The Williams Company, LLC, is a local family-owned and -operated property management company.

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