CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The head of the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police believes a spare tire have may have contributed to the death of Kyle Plush in the spring of 2018.
Sgt. Dan Hils says the spare tire was not properly stowed away.
In a lawsuit, the Plush family said two officers were negligent, but Hils said it’s his duty to defend them if there is evidence they may be wrongfully accused.
Plush died on April 10, 2018 when he became pinned by a folding bench seat in the back of his family’s 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan.
“I think this was an awful, awful tragedy and I just hope the family can start to deal with their grief," Hils said.
The Plush family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city including two police officers who were called to the scene.
Hils said he is focusing on a picture that shows a dark ring on the carpet and a spare tire that is wedged between the the two seats.
“When it’s in it’s upright position to where you can sit on it, the tire was directly underneath it, stored underneath it. That’s not where it goes. And, because of that, it was not able to latch," he said.
Hils says Kyle’s dad, Ron Plush, moved the tire before police arrived.
“Anybody who put that tire there had no intention or ever thought that it would lead to Kyle’s death," he said.
The police department admits that the officers who were called to Seven Hills High School did not have enough information to lead them or 911 dispatchers to believe that there was someone involved in a critical, life-threatening situation.
Hils said the lawsuit’s wording suggests the officers were cold hearted and uncaring.
“If officers would have known this was a life and death situation. If they would have realized what was happening to Kyle they would have broken every window in the parking lot until they found the right vehicle that he was in. They had no idea," he said. “We can say that we’re sorry for his death but I don’t see where there is any gross negligence that led us to this point where the city should be sued and the police officers should be sued or anybody should be considering settling.”
The Plush family attorney Al Gerhardstein responded by saying, “We will not be responding to Dan Hils.”