County threatened with million dollar lawsuit

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

The husband of a woman killed in car crash involving a Morgan County Fire truck is threatening to sue the county for $1 million. 

Last December, Firefighter Robert Kapp was driving a Morgan County Fire and Rescue (MCFR) Truck while responding to an emergency call. While crossing the Main Street intersection at State Route 24 Bypass, he collided with a southbound vehicle, driven by  Kimberly Kimmins Ford, 67, a former reporter and news editor of the Franklin Press, who was on her way back home to Savannah. Ford succumbed to her injuries incurred in the crash. Kapp sustained four broken ribs. 

On July 1, Morgan County received a letter from a law firm representing David Ford, Kimberly’s husband, serving as an ante litem notice for the “time-limited demand for Morgan County’s $1 million policy limits.”

Attorney John Steel, of Steel and Moss, laid blame for Ford’s death on firefighter driving the truck. 

“On December 18, 2018, Mrs. Ford was driving south on U.S. 441 and was approaching its intersection with Georgia State Route 12. As 441 approaches the intersection, it has two ‘through lanes,’ a right turn lane and a left turn lane. Mrs. Ford was traveling in the left ‘through’ lane and had a green light as she approached the intersection. At least two tractor- trailers were in the lane to her right, blocking her view of traffic approaching from the right,” said Steel. “Robert Kapp was driving a Morgan County fire truck west on Georgia State Route 12 and had his sirens and lights activated. As he approached the intersection with 441, the tractor-trailers in the right through lane of 441 South stopped. He entered the right through-lane and then began entering the left through lane. Mrs. Ford could not see the firetruck approaching from her right due to the tractor-trailers in the lane to her right. She had a green light and the right of way. When the firetruck entered her lane she did not have time to react and crashed into it.”

Steel included witness statements in his letter, arguing Morgan County should be found liable. 

“Liability is against Morgan County. Mrs. Ford had a green light and reasonably assumed it was safe for her to enter the intersection. Due to the tractor-trailers to her right, Mrs. Ford could not see the fire truck as it approached and entered the intersection,” said Steel. “The fire truck entered Mrs. Ford’s lane without making sure that there was no oncoming traffic or that traffic was yielding to him. If the fire truck had stopped to check for oncoming traffic, this wreck would never have happened.”

Morgan County Attorney Christian Henry forwarded Steel’s letter to the county’s insurance company to further address the pending lawsuit. According to Morgan County Fire Chief Jeff Stone, Georgia State Patrol, the agency that investigated the crash, has cleared the department of any wrongdoing. The Morgan County Citizen has not review a copy of Georgia State Patrol’s final report as of press time on Sept. 3. 

Steel believes the county owes Ford’s family compensation for the tragic loss of life. 

“Kimberly Ford was 67 years old and married to David Ford. Kimberly and her husband David were married for over 34 years had two children, Kristen and Britney, and six grandchildren, Warner, Andersen, Adelyn, Cassidy, Brady, and Kylee. Kimberly was born in Michigan but grew up in Florida before meeting and marrying David. David’s work required several moves and Kimberly always made a true home for her family becoming a part of the fabric of the community wherever their locale. She worked as a news reporter and then editor for a newspaper while she lived in western North Carolina. Later she worked in marketing, ultimately in the banking industry where she held offices in state and national offices of credit union associations. Her work on behalf of credit unions resulted in recognition by achieving national awards. She retired as Vice President of Marketing of Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union in 2017,” wrote Steel. “Although accomplished in her work life, Kimberly’s real job was making a difference in her community and with her family. She was an active volunteer in many endeavors including helping school children with financial literacy. She cherished her roles as wife, mother and more recently as grandmother. At the time of her death She lived in Savannah, Georgia and attended the First Presbyterian Church of Pooler, Georgia. Over 170 people (from as far away as Hawaii, Washington and Colorado) attended her funeral in Pooler because they knew she loved them all. According to the Annuity Mortality Table for 1949, Ultimate, Mrs. Ford had a life expectancy of 16.39 years.”

As of press time, on Tuesday, September 3, the lawsuit has not yet been officially filed. Ford is seeking the full amount available in compensation under Morgan County’s liability coverage, which is $1 million. 

“I think we can agree that the value of Mrs. Ford’s life exceeds Morgan County’s insurance policy limits many times over,” said Steel. 

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