Judge asks GBI to investigate Muscogee County School District lawsuit settlement

A lawsuit stemming from a crash that caused significant injuries to Columbus Police officer William Green could be on the GBI's radar.
A lawsuit stemming from a crash that caused significant injuries to Columbus Police officer William Green could be on the GBI's radar.

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A 2015 crash involving a Columbus motor squad officer and a Muscogee County School bus could now be the focus of a GBI investigation. As News 3 has previously reported, officer William Green crashed his motorcycle after swerving to avoid a school bus that turned in front of him near Whitesville Road and Double Churches Road. Officer Green suffered a fractured neck, as well as several broken bones.

The bus driver, 74-year-old Kenneth Canup, was cited in the accident. Now, Superior Court Judge Gil McBride is calling on the GBI to look into the legality of how a $550,000 settlement was paid out to the officer.

Judge McBride sent a handwritten letter to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look in to possible illegal behavior regarding the recent November settlement. According to the Muscogee County School District’s attorney Greg Ellington, Green filed the settlement. The lawsuit was entirely dismissed in November 2016. Ellington sent News 3 a statement, reading:

The suggestion from…anyone…that there was a legal impropriety with the settlement of the lawsuit back in November is incorrect.  MCSD did not pay the settlement.  The District’s liability coverage provider paid the full amount of settlement.  The settlement therefore did not require the approval of the Board.

The Georgia School Boards Association serves as the school district’s liability coverage provider, and they paid the full amount after the school district paid a $25,000 deductible. News 3 spoke with GSBA communications director Justin Pauly to learn why they paid the settlement.

“We do supply auto and worker’s compensation,” Pauly said. “We provide insurance for those types of cases, as well as facilities.”

Ellington maintains that nothing about the lawsuit settlement was illegal. This is the third time this school year that the GBI has been called upon to investigate incidents involving the Muscogee County School District.

News 3 reached out to the Judge McBride, but has not heard back. The attorney for Columbus Police has also not returned phone calls. The GBI says they are still reviewing whether to grant Judge McBride’s request to look into potential criminal behavior.


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