Estate Of Woman Killed In Wreck With Deputy To Be Paid $1.25 Million

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.


  1. Don’t accept the settlement.
    They don’t want to take it to a civil court.
    They know their employee is in the wrong.

  2. “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.”

    The woman should have seen the lights or heard the siren!! Everybody is supposed to check their driver’s side mirror before making a left turn. It’s common sense. Why did she not hear the siren? If she was deaf, she shouldn’t have been driving. I’m sorry she died but I don’t see how the officer was in the wrong. Everybody needs to stop bashing our law enforcement officers for doing what they are trained to do!!! He was rushing to a call, if I needed the police I would want them to rush to my aide too!

    • 1. She didn’t see him bc he was coming down a hill going over 100 mph. She was in the process of turning already. He might have had his sirens on but since he was going so fast NOBODY heard them.

      2. He was passing several cars at the same time. Not to mention it was a double line no passing zone.

      3. He had NO business going that fast in that area due to it being a residential area

      4. Yes he was responding to a call BUT that call had already been dispatched to another deputy that was closer to the scene NOT 30 mins away.

      Just so EVERYONE knows the family does NOT have a problem with law enforcement that does their job properly.

    • He was in the wrong. The SO staff has said it, other deputies have said it, the DA believes it, the NC SHP believes it. “Rushing” to a call is not what law enforcement is “trained to do”. The deputy caused that crash, not the victim.

    • That’s what I said, do more research. One doesn’t hear a siren or vehicle coming over a hill at them doing 110mrh.

  3. Of course he will get charged he is “black” If it was the other way around everything would of been dismissed and forgot about what a f**ked up system . She should of been paying attention & listening to his sirens

    • How dare you to bring race into this! My aunt lost her life due to his actions. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE. I do not give a crap what race he is. He done wrong and he should get punished.

      How can someone hear sirens where either off OR he was running so fast he was out running the sound. (Which has been proven by different methods in this situation)

    • You are completely ignorant. When he hit her, he didn’t know if she was white or black.
      1) Do you understand how sirens work? You can outrun Sirens. 2 football fields in 2 seconds
      2) They’res witnesses that have filed statements, blackboxes recovered and Dispatched logs involved in this case!!
      3) This case was settled out of court because too much evidence was presented. Which puts the officer in neglect. If it went to trial, you can bet your butt he’d have more charges.
      4) Nobody is above the Law
      5) He shouldn’t have been going 110mph, AND showed NO BRAKE Marks On the road. Meaning, once he came over the hill, he didn’t have a chance to break because she was in mid turn. He killed her on impact. Want to see the pictures of her body thrown from her car?
      6) Witnesses have stated there were NO SIRENS!! Makes you wonder, huh?
      7) Want to get mad at someone, be mad at the Deputy who took it upon himself to disobey the law and travel 110mph to a call that another officer was dispatched to and had already arrived.
      8) Refer to #4, The DA, The other Sheriff’s, Sheriff Bizzell and the State Highway patrol are the ones who picked up the Criminal charges.
      9) This is about the Civil Case.
      10) You DO NOT know the whole story, so your true ignorance is showing.
      11) He’s got the best defense attorney around and if he can’t get him off, then no one can. No matter what Color he is. Shame on you!!

    • His negligence caused her death, although an accident he must face some punishment, loss of Job and 1 year in jail sounds fair.

  4. Some of these rude comments are so ignorant. Guarantee if it was someone in one of your families y’all would feel the same exact way. Wrong is wrong. NO ONE is above the law. Not even the ones who enforce it. It doesn’t have anything to do with size, shape, color, religion or anything other than that cop being in the wrong and taking a life. I’ll pray for y’all. Have a great day.

  5. I understand that you are taking up for your people, but did you know we all bleed red?? Why in this world are you making this racist? A life was lost for not being careful not the color of your skin. Who’s gonna miss Shirley at the table on holidays, birthdays or just a visit or phone call. Let me tell you who, me that’s who. I don’t have a sister to visit or talk to on the phone now because someone was not obeying the law and being very careless. Not a member of this family would ever stoop so low to even suggest it being a racist problem. I really think you are the only one that is a racist and showing your true colors, just wanting to start something. The only thing you are proving to me is how ignorant you are!! RIP Shirley and I am so sorry this happened to you. Love and miss you so much 💓

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