EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – The parents of a 20-year-old who died while in custody in November of 2020 filed a federal wrongful death civil rights lawsuit on Wednesday against the city of Evansville and seven Evansville Police Department officers.
According to a release from Wagner Reese, LLP, Evan Terhune attacked one of his friends in the 1100 block of Loft Cove while under the influence of LSD on November 14, 2020. After the attack, the release says that person called 911 to report Terhune was “on some type of drugs, acting all crazy.” Police say Terhune attacked a police car and an officer before he was tasered and taken into custody.
According to the lawsuit, officers declined medical transport for Terhune while at the scene of the residence in Loft Cove, despite Terhune bleeding and vomiting. Terhune was placed into the back of a police vehicle that did not have seatbelts or restraints.
Police say Terhune continued acting erratically while in custody and can be seen on video banging his head and jumping around inside the transport van. The release from Wagner Reese claims officers drove the wagon at normal speeds without emergency lights or a siren despite knowing that Terhune was harming himself in the backseat. Terhune was found unresponsive in the back of the vehicle. Terhune died three days later, and the coroner listed his cause of death as a subdural hemorrhage from blunt force trauma to the head.
Attorney Stephen Wagner says Terhune made a mistake by using drugs, but that mistake should not have been a death sentence.
“Evan was a young man who had slipped into a bad habit of abusing drugs, mostly marijuana and Xanax,” said Wagner in a release. “But he was not a bad kid. Other than one misdemeanor arrest, Evan had never been in trouble with the law. He had a good job as an auto detailer at a car dealership. He had two parents who loved him and were trying to get him help for his drug problem. Evan talked about quitting “cold turkey” and moving to Indianapolis to get a fresh start.”
Earlier this month, the family of Rodriquez Pam filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the EPD claiming that officers failed to recognize Pam was intoxicated or in a mental health crisis.
The lawsuit can be read in the window below: