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Theresa firefighter sues Jefferson County, sheriff’s deputy over May accident


A volunteer firefighter injured at an accident scene when he was struck by a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department vehicle has filed suit against the county and the deputy driving the vehicle.

Lansing G. Willix filed state Supreme Court action Thursday at the county clerk’s office against the county, Deputy Shaun D. Cuddeback and Sheriff John P. Burns.

It is claimed that on May 18, Mr. Willix, a member of the Theresa Volunteer Fire Department for more than 40 years, was directing traffic near routes 37 and 411 when he was hit by a vehicle driven by Deputy Cuddeback, who was responding to a nearby car accident.

According to the suit, Mr. Willix suffered “multiple” injuries, including a broken leg, and, as a result, he experienced pain and suffering and lost wages and incurred medical expenses. He maintains that Deputy Cuddeback was negligent in his operation of his vehicle and that the county and Sheriff Burns are liable because, among other things, they failed to properly train and supervise the deputy and failed to implement and enforce appropriate safety procedures and protocols.

Deputy Cuddeback was not charged as a result of the accident, which was attributed to congestion at the scene. Mr. Willix had walked out from behind a parked vehicle into the deputy’s path.

Mr. Willix’s wife, Beverly, also is named as a plaintiff in the action. The suit does not specify an amount being sought in damages. The couple is represented by Syracuse attorney Donald S. DiBenedetto.

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