Local News

Taxpayers to Pay for Funeral of Man Killed by Deputy’s Car

Posted January 7, 2008
Updated January 8, 2008

— Taxpayers will cover funeral costs for a pedestrian stuck and killed by a Franklin County sheriff deputy's vehicle.

On New Year's Eve, Marcus Coppedge was crossing N.C. Highway 39 in Ingleside when he was struck by a car driven by Deputy Crystal Mitchell. Coppedge's mother witnessed the accident and held the 23-year-old as he died on the roadway.

The county Board of Commissioners met behind closed doors Monday night to discuss a potential lawsuit against Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green in the wake of the accident.

At the meeting, Green asked that the county pay more than $7,800 to cover funeral expenses for Coppedge. The commissioners voted unanimously to pay for the funeral with money from the general fund.

"The family is not able to pay the funeral expenses. I'm the sheriff of the county and was elected by people, and based on the circumstances, this is the right thing to do," Green said.

Mitchell was responding to a non-emergency call when her vehicle hit Coppedge. Green said Mitchell, a three-year veteran of the force, told him she was distracted by a group of young men gathered in front on the 4 Stars Grocery.

The sheriff said Monday night that deciding to cover the funeral cost did not mean the county had accepted liability in Coppedge's death.

"We don't concede any liability. We are waiting for the investigation to be complete. This is a good will gesture on the county's part," he said.

The sheriff also said based on the Highway Patrol's preliminary investigation, Mitchell may have been traveling 10 to 15 mph over the posted speed limit. Green said he was waiting for the final report from the Highway Patrol to determine whether there was any fault.

Mitchell remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of that investigation, which should be complete in about a month.

WRAL contacted Coppedge's family Monday evening, but they declined comment.


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  • think1st Jan 9, 2008

    Think about this one......... There are two people in this world that have to be super humans. One is a preacher and the other is a law enforcement officer. Bulldozer.... one of the problems with law enforcement is it has the ability to affect each one of you if you don't live your life right. With great power comes great critisism. Lots of people have been in fights and dangerous situations. Those of you that have, ask yourself, DID I DRIVE TO THE DANGEROUS SITIUATION TO ENGAGE IN A FIGHT FOR MY LIFE FOR A STRANGER FOR $30 A YEAR!

  • think1st Jan 9, 2008

    All the ridiculous comments on here made by people that have no idea what they are talking about doesn't really bother me. What does bother me is the decisions made by Sheriff Green. Sheriff Green, why would you make a statement to the media about what you thought the speed was? Why not wait for the shp to finish the reconstruction? This will cost taypayers a lot more than the funeral did. Sheriff, actions speak louder than words. You can tell everyone you're not admitting fault by paying for the funeral, but what will a jury think. You should know that no matter what the truth is, perception is reality in law enforcement. I bet your ears are still ringing after talking to the county attorney after your interview with the media. Sheriff, I've heard you are a very nice guy and I appreciate all you do for us, but you'll have to learn the hard way on this one. As for the female deputy, I hope that leaving you out to dry was an honest mistake. Good Luck to You.

  • ratherbnnc Jan 9, 2008

    Thanks for your input psychobabble! Another street corner lawyer i see? Before you twist things around with your psychobabble..you may notice i said "generic".

  • stepbak Jan 9, 2008

    all i can say is that if she was going 10 to 15 miles over the posted speed limit respoinding to a "non-emergency" call and not to mention it also said she was looking at some people at a store so that means she was driving to fast for no reason and not paying attention to where she was going. Wow! not sure what the outcome of this will be....

  • BULLDOZER Jan 9, 2008

    OK, enough of the police folks doing wrong and getting off with little or no punishment or less than what an average citizen would be charged. Day 1-Day 7 in Police school should be about responsibility and setting a good example. The Police wonder why they have lost respect and authority over the years. And please no posts about what a tough and dangerous job they have. They knew what they were signing up for when they joined. If they(the collective) will start weeding out all of their bad apples, maybe someday the police will again be respected.

  • makingsense Jan 9, 2008

    These two stores, not in a great area, are hang-outs for the unemployed, drunks, and drug users frequently crossing the street from one to another just to hang out. Always folks walking lazily beside the road. Mr. Gup, you are SO right! I pass this area twice a day, every day. These folks DARE you to hit them. They think its funny to scare you. This is a problem area and these stores either need to ENFORCE a loitering policy, or the county has these places shut down completely. As for the deputy's speed, what difference does it make? HE walked out in front of her. She didn't swerve over off the road to hit him. It wouldn't matter how fast she was going, 25 or 65. He still would have been hit. Louisburg in general has a really bad problem with hangouts like this all over town. This is only going to get worse. Especially if Sheriff Green doesn't stand up for his deputy. The Sheriff has conveyed the wrong message by paying for the funeral BEFORE the report was finalized.

  • Common Sense Man Jan 8, 2008

    "If this is her second "critical incident" it appears she still has that "rookie gung ho mentality"."

    What does being a bad driver have to do with "rookie gung ho mentality."???

  • anonemoose Jan 8, 2008

    NCLEO, to see if she was meant to ask "may I see your license and registration" or "would you like that supersized" please see http://www.thefranklintimes.com/ , look at the pic and tell me that's 45 MPH worth of damage, then read the comments on the story.

    Ratherbnnc, you are 180 degrees off. ACCIDENT is the civilian term. Collision or Crash in the law enforcement term. From day one of crash investigation in BLET, the word "accident" is banned from the classroom, and you had better NEVER say that word on the stand during a crash related trial. BTW, the DMV 349 report is a Crash Report Form, not "accident" report.

  • NCLEO Jan 8, 2008

    I haven't read one single comment concerning the well being of the Deputy. LEO's are human beings just like every one else and have emotions and feelings just like you do. I hope that some one from her department is giving her proper counseling and support through what I'm sure is a very trying and difficult time in her life. It's easy to point a finger at LEO's because LEO's are visible 24-7, the store never closes. Try walking in their shoes for one work week before you throw the first stone. Some individuals were meant to be LEO's, every one else was meant to call 911. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Deputy and the family of the deceased.

  • PikeMom4real Jan 8, 2008

    May this young man Rest IN Peace adn May his Mother Rest easy that one day he'll welcome her to the kingdom of heaven......

    I thought all this took place on "Judgement Day"...