Friday, December 03, 1999

Boone, 2 deputies settle suit in death

Woman told to ride in truck that crashed

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The father of a Walton woman who died in a 1994 crash after law enforcers told her to get into a vehicle with a boyfriend has settled his federal lawsuit with Boone County and two of the county's deputy sheriffs.

        A status report on the case indicated the settlement was for $300,000. Attorneys are not confirming that figure.

        William Chipman, the father of Conni Black, still has a case pending against Florence and three Florence police who also encountered Ms. Black and her boyfriend on the night she died.

        Ms. Black, 36, died in February 1994. She and her boyfriend, Steve Kritis, had been drinking and line dancing at a Florence bar when Ms. Black met Susan Stemler.

        Mr. Kritis had allegedly assaulted Ms. Black when the two women left the bar together. Mr. Kritis pursued them in his vehicle without turning on the headlights.

        Florence Officer Thomas Dusing stopped Mr. Kritis near U.S. 42 and Tanners Lane, and the Boone County deputies, Rob Reuthe and Chris Alsip, and Florence Officers Bobby Joe Wince and John Dolan soon joined him.

        Mr. Kritis told Deputy Rob Reuthe that Ms. Stemler was a lesbian and that she was kidnapping his girlfriend. The deputy also said Mr. Kritis smelled of alcohol.

        Ms. Black told the officers what had happened, yet they threatened to arrest her if she did not get in the pickup with Mr. Kritis, according to court documents.

        He later crashed, killing Ms. Black. It was determined that Mr. Kritis' blood alcohol level was 0.115, above the legal limit of 0.10.

        Ms. Stemler also has a federal lawsuit pending against Florence and its officers because of what happened the night of Ms. Black's death.


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