LOCKPORT – The parents of a man killed in a car crash, a part of whose body was taken to be used in training a dog, filed a lawsuit against Niagara County this week.
Danny P. Dunn Sr. and Anita L. Dunn brought suit in State Supreme Court against the county, former County Coroner Russell Jackman II, the Cambria Volunteer Fire Company and its former chief, E. Vincent Salerno.
The plaintiffs’ son, Roger Dunn, was killed April 13, 2012, in a crash on Saunders Settlement Road in Cambria.
The suit, filed by Lewiston attorney Michael J. Dowd, says that the victim’s parents didn’t know until they heard media reports that Jackman had removed a piece of their son’s body tissue, which he gave to Salerno for use in training a dog to sniff out cadavers.
Jackman and Salerno both resigned their posts and pleaded guilty to obstructing governmental administration. Each was fined $1,000 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service with the SPCA, as well as writing letters of apology to the Dunns.
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages as well as compensation for emotional and psychological distress.
Dowd did not return a call seeking cowmment Friday.
In another case, a police officer hurt quelling a domestic dispute also sued the county. Michael J. Skoney, of Niagara Falls, attorney for Town of Niagara Officer Kellie Treis, did not return a call seeking comment.
Treis was hurt in trying to subdue a 15-year-old boy in the Cayuga Village mobile home park in January 2012.
The suit seeks permission to file a notice of claim, a mandatory preliminary to a case against a local government, well after the normal 90-day deadline.
If that notice of claim is allowed, the proposed lawsuit would charge that a civilian dispatcher in the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, now-retired Jeffrey Bruce, called off backup units that were heading to the scene.
According to Treis’ original incident report, she and Officer Edward Finley were assigned to investigate an incident between the 15-year-old and his grandmother. Treis’ report doesn’t mention a lack of backup.
It does say that she and Finley were hurt when they tumbled down stairs trying to handcuff the boy, who fought with them. Treis said she pushed the emergency identifier button on her radio and three other officers came to the scene and arrested the teen. He was charged in Family Court with assault.
Treis hurt her knee and hand, while Finley hurt his hand. Finley has not filed any lawsuit.