Circuit clerk looks to delay deposition in wrongful death suit against county

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Baldwin County Circuit Clerk Jody Wise Campbell, who is running for re-election, has filed a motion to delay her deposition until after the June 5 primary in a case involving a Baldwin County inmate that was mistakenly released and killed a Bay Minette woman in a car crash May 2017. According to a lawsuit filed by the victim’s son, the inmate was released due to “employees of the Baldwin County Circuit Clerk’s office whose negligent act or commission caused or contributed in any way.”

In a document filed with the circuit court on May 18 this year, Campbell filed her request for the deposition to be delayed stating several reasons for why she was seeking the delay, including the upcoming primary.

“Campbell is unable to sit for a deposition prior to June 5, 2018, since she is seeking re-election and has campaign events planned that she must attend,” the document said.

Campbell’s attorney, Bettie Carmack, said she was assigned to represent Campbell on May 18 and also “needs time to confer with her client prior to the deposition,” according to the filing.

Campbell’s attorney submitted the following dates as acceptable times for Campbell to sit down for the deposition: June 11 at 1 p.m., the week of June 18 after 1 p.m. or any other mutually agreed upon time thereafter. All of the times suggested by Campbell were after the June 5 primary.

Campbell is scheduled to give her deposition at 10 a.m. May 22.

Campbell’s deposition is part of a lawsuit filed by William Echols, son of Sarah Echols who was killed in a Loxley car crash on May 8,2017, that involved Alec Dvorak, a 22-year-old who had been mistakenly released from jail by Baldwin County.

William Echols filed his lawsuit against the county Jan. 12, which includes negligence and wrongful death charges against the county for their part in the mistaken release of Dvorak.

While mistakenly released at the time of the crash, Dvorak was operating a 2001Jeep Cherokee and allegedly allowed his vehicle to travel into the lane of traffic where Sarah Echols was traveling and hit her head-on, immediately taking her life, but the lawsuit said Dvorak should have been in Baldwin County’s custody.

Though Dvorak was sentenced in Baldwin County to a 12-month incarceration sentence for his guilty plea on March 6, 2017, to charges of second degree receiving stolen property, he was somehow released from custody on March 7.

While he was released, Dvorak was arrested on Apr. 7, 2017, in Escambia County, Florida for failing to appear in court proceedings stemming from felony charges there.

Dvorak pled guilty to the pending felony charges in Florida on April 26 and was released the same day from Escambia County.

“Mr. Dvorak should have been in the custody of Baldwin County and not have been free to travel to Escambia County, Florida,” the lawsuit said. “Moreover, Mr. Dvorak should have not been on the roadway on or about May 8, 2017, when he allowed his vehicle to collide with … Sarah Katherine Barnes Echols’s (sic) vehicle, which resulted in her death.”

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