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Pasco sheriff's office settles with family over chase fatality

WESLEY CHAPEL - The Pasco County Sheriff's Office has agreed to a $175,000 settlement with the family of Henry McCain, according to the sheriff's office. McCain, 67, was killed May 10, 2011 in Hernando County when Brittany Miles plowed into his 2009 Suzuki motorcycle with her Dodge Ram truck as she fled from Pasco County deputies. She was originally pulled over for suspicion of DUI and was handcuffed before breaking free and escaping from the back of a deputy's car. "It was in the best interest of all concerned," said Jeremiah Hawkes, lawyer for the sheriff's office. Hawkes added: "We looked at the potential cost of litigation and the circumstances that occurred and we decided a settlement was the recourse. If it had gone to trial, we don't feel that, ultimately, we had done anything to give rise to liability, but you never know what a jury is going to do.
"Obviously Mr. McCain is an innocent victim in all this. He certainly didn't do anything wrong. Brittany Miles, ultimately, killed him," Hawkes said. Miles, 22, will stand trial in Pasco County on Sept. 10. The following week, starting Sept. 18, she will answer to charges in a second trial in Hernando County. The former exotic dancer is charged with attempted murder, escape, fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer, driving under the influence and methamphetamine possession in Pasco County, while in Hernando she is charged with first-degree murder, aggravating fleeing and leaving the scene of an accident involving death or injury. The charges could result in a life sentence. Kevin Doll, public information director for the Pasco sheriff's office, said the agency's liability is capped at $200,000 by state law. If a party seeks more, it must petition the state Legislature. "Brittany Miles, does she have any money for her responsibility in this? I highly doubt it, so they came to us," Doll said. "That's why the sheriff (Chris Nocco) thought it be in the best interest to settle. The McCain family's lawyer was very amenable to that and we worked out a settlement of $175,000. "That provides some amount of closure to the McCain family. Of course, they still have to go through the criminal trial and that's another burden they have to face and what happens to Brittany Miles in her criminal case." On the morning of May 10, 2011, Miles was pulled over on suspicion of DUI while she drove along U.S. 19 in Hudson. Pasco deputy Ashley Grady placed Miles in handcuffs, and put her in the back of a patrol car. With the window of the patrol car down, Miles freed one of her hands from the cuffs, opened the cruiser's door with the outside handle, and escaped. She jumped back into her truck and sped away. Grady, who reached inside the driver's side window of the truck, attempted to pull the keys from the vehicle's ignition. She was thrown from the truck, suffering a broken ankle and tibia and a cut on her head. Miles sped north on U.S. 19 with deputies behind her. Shortly after crossing the Hernando County line, deputies say she ran a red light, colliding into McCain and killing him. Grady, with the Pasco sheriff's office since July 2010, was suspended for five days without pay for violating a sheriff's office policy on prisoner custody and transportation.

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