Local News

Family Of Teen Killed In 2003 Wreck Suing City Of Durham

Posted July 8, 2004 3:40 a.m. EDT

— The family of a teen killed by a former Durham police officer is suing the city of Durham.

A lawyer for the family of Matthew West filed a wrongful death suit Thursday morning. The lawsuit does not specify any dollar amount for damages.

West, 17, died last July. He was riding in a jeep that was hit by Durham police Officer Alfred Rodriguez, who ran a flashing red light.

In April, Rodriguez admitted responsibility. A judge ordered him to pay a $100 fine and court costs. Rodriguez has since resigned from the Durham Police Department.

The West family released a statement Thursday.

"This month marks one year since we lost our son," said Robin Smith, Matthew's mother. "Mattie was a dreamer, and he chased his dreams with great passion and enthusiasm. By his example, Mattie inspired others to chase their dreams, too. We want to keep those dreams alive through the Matthew Paul West Foundation."

"Nothing can bring back our son," said Adrian West, Matthew's father. "The foundation that we have established in Mattie's memory is our effort to see that Mattie's dreams, and our dreams for our son, were not in vain. We can still help others chase dreams, just like Mattie would have."