FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WCMH) — One year after former Ohio State and NFL quarterback Dwayne Haskins was killed while walking on a Florida highway, the family’s attorney has filed a lawsuit that says his death was avoidable.
A statement from The Ellsley Law Firm on behalf of Haskins’ widow, Kalabrya Haskins, confirms that a lawsuit has been filed. It makes allegations on multiple fronts, including the condition of the truck that hit him, the roadway where he was killed and that he may have been drugged the night before he died.
“The filing of this lawsuit is an important step in the process of uncovering the complete truth about this tragedy,” Ellsley said.
On the morning of April 9, 2022, Dwayne Haskins was hit by a dump truck while walking on Interstate 595 in Broward County, Florida. The lawsuit cites the Florida Highway Patrol Traffic report that says Haskins was only a few feet away from making it across the highway before the dump truck struck him.
The suit also goes into detail about the truck and the driver. It says the truck had multiple structural issues, including low tread tires and brake system problems, along with carrying excessive cargo and going faster than the posted speed limit, which was listed as 65 mph on that stretch of the interstate.
The lawsuit also claims the truck driver’s phone records at the time of the crash have not been released, and the driver refused to provide a blood sample at the scene and has not provided alcohol test results. And it says before Haskins was hit by the dump truck’s front left side, multiple other drivers that were in front and behind the dump truck avoided hitting Haskins while he was walking on the roadway. Drivers that avoided Haskins called 911, with the firm’s release saying the dump truck had clear illumination from hazard lights and construction signs as well to avoid him.
A toxicology report released in May revealed Haskins’ blood alcohol level was at 0.20 at the time he was killed, almost triple the legal limit of 0.08 in Florida.
“So if you look at this case where Mr. Haskins was hit crossing the interstate and the coroner reported he had alcohol and drugs, you expect that to be a very strong defense,” said Susan Gilles, a law professor at Capital University, adding that that defense is known as comparative fault. She said it is likely the defendants will claim Haskins was negligent and played a part in his death.
“If the plaintiff looks to be at fault, they’re going to take a lot less money in the recovery,” Giles said.
Giles is not affiliated with the Haskins case.
Haskins was reportedly in the car with a female passenger before he walked around the highway for roughly 20 minutes looking to get gas, per investigators.
A previous report on Haskins’ toxicology report can be seen in the player below.
The lawsuit alleged Haskins was targeted and drugged the night before as part of a blackmail scheme, with the suit saying his expensive watch was stolen before he was killed.
911 audio revealed from Haskins’ wife, Kalabrya, showed she called from Pittsburgh and said, “My husband, he was stuck on the side of the highway as he had to go walk and get gas and then he said he would return to the car on the highway.”
Giles said normally if those filing the lawsuit (Haskin’s estate) are more than 50% at fault, they get nothing. However, Florida has pure comparative fault, which means even if Haskins was found to be more than 50% at fault, his estate would still collect a portion of the damages.
For example, if Haskin’s estate was seeking $10 million in damages and he was found to be 60% at fault, his estate could still collect $4 million. That level of fault will be determined by the jury in the trial, if it gets that far.
“We really ask the jury to do a difficult job of assigning negligence to all the parties involved,” Giles said.
As a Buckeye, Haskins played for two seasons, setting numerous passing records. In 2018, he finished third in the Heisman voting, won the Big Ten quarterback of the year award and the 2019 Rose Bowl MVP.
Haskins entered the NFL draft in 2019, skipping his final two years at Ohio State. He was drafted by the Washington Commanders — then the Redskins — with the 15th overall pick before going to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021.