Domestic violence victim sues officer for releasing roommate who crashed and died

Kelly Holleran Jul. 29, 2009, 10:51am

The father and roommate of a deceased man have filed suit against the Village of New Athens, alleging a policeman failed to protect the man from killing himself in a single-vehicle accident after the officer released the man to attend to another call.

Ellen L. Bailey and Edgar A. Hock claim police were called to a domestic violence scene at 308 South Clinton St. in New Athens, where Justin Hock was allegedly beating Bailey.

According to the complaint filed July 22 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, New Athens officer Luke Probst responded to the call, where Justin Hock had caused substantial damage to the abode in which he was living with Bailey and had caused substantial damage to Bailey's vehicle.

"At that time, Hock was underage and intoxicated, belligerent, violent and resisted Officer Probst," the suit states.

Upon his arrival at the scene, Probst removed Justin Hock from the house and took him to the police department for arrest, the complaint says.

However, while Justin Hock was in custody, Probst received another call and released Justin Hock, Bailey and Edgar Hock claim.

After his release, Justin Hock walked back to his South Clinton Street residence and repeated the domestic violence against Bailey, according to the complaint.

Again, Probst was called back to the domestic violence scene, but by the time he had reached Bailey's and Justin Hock's abode, Justin Hock had taken Bailey's vehicle and sped off, the suit states.

Minutes later, Justin Hock was involved in a one-vehicle accident, during which he died, the complaint says.

Bailey and Edgar Hock say Probst, along with other officers, changed reports regarding the domestic violence incident so they could absolve any wrong-doing by the police department.

Because of the incident, Bailey says she was made sick, sore, lame and disordered, received injuries to her head and limbs and experienced pain, suffering and mental anguish. She also has disability and sustained permanent disfigurement, according to the complaint.

In the four-count complaint, Bailey and Edgar Hock are seeking a judgment of more than $200,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

D. Jeffrey Ezra and Shaun M. Lieser of Ezra and Associates in Collinsville will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-390.

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