The city of Varnell and the family of former newspaper contract carrier Willard Leon Thurman have agreed to settle a civil lawsuit filed after a Varnell police officer crashed his patrol car into Thurman’s vehicle in March.

Thurman died in the wreck.

Family attorney Robert Smalley and Varnell’s attorney, Andy Davis, declined to release the amount of the settlement. Thurman’s widow, Virginia Thurman, and daughter, Melissa Trammell, had originally sued for $750,000 in Whitfield Superior Court.

A written statement from the attorneys says, “Varnell Mayor Dan Peeples indicated that the city regrets the family’s loss and hopes the resolution of this case will help bring some closure, both for them and for the officer involved, who he said is very remorseful.”

District Attorney Bert Poston said he is reviewing evidence before deciding whether to press criminal charges against former officer James Smith, whom officials said was speeding and violating several department policies at the time of the crash.

Read Wednesday's Daily Citizen for a complete report.

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