Sentinel Progress

$1 million settlement reached

LIBERTY — Court records filed on Aug. 2 state a $1 million settlement has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Liberty after the death of Steven Louis Richardson, a bystander who was killed in a high speed chase with Liberty police.

Reports state back in April of last year, Liberty police officers blue-lighted the then 29-year-old Nicholas Keith Blackstock at approximately 10:15 p.m. because of a problem with the vehicle’s brake lights.

Liberty Police Chief Adam Gilstrap said at the time that his officers also had received intel from the Pickens Police Department that Blackstock may have been in possession of drugs.

According to incident reports, the Liberty officers gave chase after Blackstock fled from officers on S.C. 93.

It was reported in 2017 that officers estimated the speeds had reached up to 90 mph at times during the 15 minute pursuit.

Richardson, 59, was killed when Blackstock crossed into oncoming traffic on U.S. 123 and hit him. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:30 p.m. by the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.

Blackstock, who was not injured in the crash, was charged with driving under suspension, felony driving under the influence, failing to stop for a blue light in a crash involving death and possession of meth with intent to distribute.

Reports stated methamphetamines, marijuana and needles were found in the vehicle.

As a results of the events that transpired that night in April 2017, Blackstock was sentenced to 19 years for felony DUI resulting in death.

A hearing was held on Aug. 1, 2018 attended by Tracy Mattison, as Personal Representative of the estate of Richardson, Samuel R. Clawson Jr., Esq. and Christy Fargnoli as the petitioner’s attorneys and James Jolly Jr. — who represented the City of Liberty, court records show.

During the hearing, Mattinson agreed to the settlement with the understanding no person “would have any further cause of action against the City of Liberty, its servants, employees, agents, or affiliates, and the South Carolina Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund on account of the death of (Richardson.)”

“Upon consideration of the verified petition of Tracy Mattison … and based on the examination of and testimony obtained by this court, this court is fully satisfied and concludes that the proposed settlement is reasonable and proper,” the court documents read.

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By Kasie Strickland

kstrickland@championcarolinas.com

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.