Family Releases Statement Through Attorney
The estate of woman killed in a traffic accident involving a Johnston County deputy will be paid $1,250,000. Johnston County Commissioners approved the wrongful death settlement today (Monday).
On January 9, 2021, Deputy Quinton Joel Rhue was traveling on Highway 301 North of Micro responded to a call with his blue lights and siren activated. While traveling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour in his marked cruiser, Deputy Rhue struck a pickup truck driven by Shirley Ann James, 63, of E. Fremont Street, Kenly, as she attempted to make a left turn from Highway 301 onto Watson Road. She died at the scene.
Deputy Rhue, who was injured in the crash, was later charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and unsafe passing. The criminal charges are still pending.
The family of Shirley James was represented by attorney Robert V. Lucas with the law firm of Lucas Denning & Ellerbe in Selma. Although no civil lawsuit was filed against Johnston County or Deputy Rhue, the County or its insurance providers, The Travelers Indemnity Company and Ohio Casualty Insurance Company, agreed to the settlement. The money will be paid to the Estate by the insurance carriers.
In the eight page Settlement Agreement obtained by Johnston County Report, the County of Johnston, Deputy Rhue and the insurance companies all denied liability but agreed to enter into a settlement to satisfy any present or future claims from the fatal collision.
“The Estate of Shirley James and her heirs have made claims seeking recovery for her wrongful death and the Defendants have denied all liability,” according to the document. The agreement releases all parties from future civil claims. However, the criminal charges against Deputy Rhue are a separate matter.
The wrongful death payment will be paid to the Estate of Shirley James, which is being administered by Carolyn James Wright, in compliance with the North Carolina Wrongful Death and Interstate Succession Acts.
The family of Shirley James released a statement Monday through their attorney.
“Shirley’s death was a true tragedy. Shirley will be greatly missed by all of her family. She was a wonderful and loving person. Her family meant everything to her.”
“The ‘Black Box’ in the sheriff deputy’s vehicle with the assistance of an expert witness showed the Sheriff Deputy was traveling 110 mph in a 45 mph speed zone at or near the time of the accident adjacent to North Johnston High School.”
“Hopefully, the financial settlement/payout in this case will send the message that we all must be cautious and vigilant in order to protect others whether we are an everyday driver or a law enforcement driver,” the family said in the written statement released by Mr. Lucas.