Fanon Rucker and Michael Wright of The Cochran Firm Ohio are representing the family of William Dunson, a 50-year-old father from Cincinnati who was killed March 31, 2023, after his car was struck by a Springfield Township police officer. The officer, who was recklessly driving more than 80 m.p.h. in a 25-m.p.h. zone, was responding to an “officer needs assistance” call from a different jurisdiction.

The family announced in late December of 2023 that they have filed a lawsuit against Springfield Township and other parties.  

Cochran Firm Attorneys speaking alongside the victim's family at a press conference

According to the complaint, Mr. Dunson was driving home from the grocery store in North College Hill on Hamilton Avenue when his vehicle was struck at a high rate of speed by a patrol car driven by Springfield Township police officer Timothy Unwin.  The officer was out of his jurisdiction and responding to a call that had subsequently been canceled yet was driving at speeds of more than 80 m.p.h. when he collided with Mr. Dunson's vehicle.  

Officer Unwin lost control of his vehicle as he was attempting to change lanes, struck a median and his vehicle became airborne and landed on top of Mr. Dunson's vehicle which was traveling in the opposite direction.  Officer Unwin was also killed in the crash.  The complaint contends that Officer Unwin had a history of reckless driving.

"We are a few days away from a time in all of our country, in our lives, where we'll be spending time with family… we’ll be gathering around game boards and dinner tables, enjoying ourselves. But this family is not going to experience the same."

- Fanon Rucker, The Cochran Firm Ohio

William Dunson was a father of four, worked as a Titles Clerk at Fifth Third Bank.  At the time of his death, he was also caring for his father who had recently been diagnosed with cancer.  He was married to his wife, Erica, for more than 23 years.  

"I don't know that there are enough words in the English language; I don't know if they're enough letters in the alphabet to describe how this has impacted Ms. Dunson and the rest of the family," 

-Rucker

The lawsuit also points to what Rucker calls "red flags" in Unwin's personnel file, such as making an improper U-turn on Ronald Reagan highway that caused a "serious crash" for which he was found to be "at fault." The lawsuit says, despite this, Chief Rick Bley did not suspend or terminate Unwin.

"We're sending the message ... that you have to be reasonable. You have to protect and serve, serve and protect. Going 80 miles an hour in a 25 mile an hour zone outside of your jurisdiction — that's not reasonable. We want to make sure that no other family must go through what this family is going through. So, if filing the suit creates policy change and makes this police department operate in a different manner, that's also our goal."

- Michael Wright, The Cochran Firm