The father of a Knightdale police officer killed as he aided a motorist along Interstate 540 in October filed a wrongful death suit Monday, seeking a jury trial and damages from the man who hit him.

“Ryan deserves justice and that justice can be found in both the civil court system and the criminal court system,” Tim Hayworth told WRAL News.

Officer Ryan Hayworth, a 23-year-old Army veteran, was working the scene of a crash just after 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 17, 2021, when Dedric Privette drove through reflective cones and flares and into Hayworth’s SUV.

According to the lawsuit, Privette was going at least 70 mph and had a blood alcohol content of almost three times the legal limit. The police report from the collision shows Privette never slowed before he hit the SUV.

Ryan Hayworth was thrown from his SUV by the impact and died at the hospital hours later.

“The kid was just phenomenal,” his father said, noting that the loss goes well beyond family.

“[In] our church and our community and our military and the police department,” Tim Hayworth said, “everything about him was just outstanding. And now all of a sudden at 23 years old, his life has ended because somebody made that choice. We have to send a message.”

Tim Hayworth, the former chief of police in Zebulon, is suing Privette claiming negligence and wrongful death and seeking punitive damages.

Tim Hayworth says he has three goals in filing suit: justice for h

is son Ryan, to send a message that impaired driving is “a serious, serious crime,” and to remind drivers that first responders risk their lives to help others, often on the side of a busy road.

“We want to remind people that when there’s first responders on the side of the road, you don’t have to get somewhere in a hurry,” Tim Hayworth said.

Stacy Miller, one of Tim Hayworth’s attorneys in the case, told WRAL News, “We think it’s real important in this case to send a message. I’ve seen an increase in the number of people injured by impaired drivers since the pandemic has started, and it’s really gotten out of hand. This is a tragic case, senseless death, and people just need to quit drinking and driving.”

Privette is being held on $2 million bond in the Wake County Jail, facing charges of felony death by vehicle and felony serious injury by vehicle.

Hayworth’s co-counsel, Lee Turner, said, “I think a message needs to be sent. These officers are out there. You’ve got to pay attention. This kind of behavior can’t be tolerated. These guys are doing their job and they’re out there on the side of the road, and regardless of the drunk driving or any other circumstances, people have got to pay attention.”

 

Read the full article here: https://www.wral.com/Hayworth-Knightdale-officer-killed-police-lawsuit-DWI/20124531/