Ind. widow sues governments, first responder agencies over response time, husband's death
Rachel Peace's husband, Gary Peace, died after suffering a heart attack; her lawsuit names 11 defendants
By Tyler Juranovich
TIPTON COUNTY, Ind. — A Tipton County woman is suing multiple governments and first responder agencies, alleging the death of their husband could've been avoided if ambulances arrived more quickly.
Rachel Peace, as the representative to her late husband's estate, filed a civil tort lawsuit in September over the death of her husband Gary Peace.
Gary Peace died Feb. 2, 2022, after suffering a heart attack, according to his obituary. The lawsuit names 11 defendants. They are: Howard County, Howard County Sheriff's Department, Howard County 911 Center, Tipton County, Tipton County Emergency Management Communications Center, city of Tipton, city of Kokomo, town of Galveston, Galveston Volunteer Fire Department, town of Sharpsville and the Sharpsville Volunteer Fire Department Corporation.
According to the complaint, Rachel Peace called 911 requesting help for her husband as "he was having trouble breathing." Subsequently, a Howard County dispatcher told her an ambulance would be dispatched.
"A short time later," according to the complaint, Rachel Peace placed a second 911 call seeking the status of the ambulance. This time, according to the complaint, a Tipton County dispatcher told her that paramedics were dispatched and would arrive in 10-15 minutes.
Rachel Peace would place a third 911 call, according to the complaint, and was told medics were en route. Upon arrival, medics attempted CPR on Gary Peace. He would be transported to Community Howard Regional Hospital but was unresponsive upon arrival to the hospital and was later pronounced dead, according to the complaint.
The complaint does not detail the clock times Rachel Peace called 911, nor does it detail the amount of time it took paramedics to arrive at the Peace house after the first 911 call.
Nonetheless, the complaint describes the response as "untimely" and claims that the alleged slow response time led to the death of Gary Peace.
"Defendants' actions were grossly negligent and/or amounted to willful wanton misconduct," the complaint alleges. The estate is seeking compensation for the alleged losses and damages that have incurred and will incur because of the death of Gary Peace.
All 11 defendants have answered the complaint, and all 11 deny the allegations made in the complaint.
One defendant, the town of Sharpsville, alleges that Gary Peace's "serious medical conditions" caused his death and his "carelessness and negligence" in regard to his own health bars his estate from relief because of "contributory negligence."
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