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Widow of man fatally shot by trooper seeks damages from state, hospital, doctor

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The widow of man fatally shot by an Indiana State Police trooper in December has taken a step toward filing a lawsuit against the agency. 

Glenn A. Rightsell, 56, of Linden, died at the Franciscan Health Crawfordsville hospital after he was shot Dec. 28 on U.S. 231 near Montgomery County Road 550 North. That’s near North Montgomery High School, about 15 miles south of Lafayette.

Gloria Whitesell filed a tort claim with the state to seek wrongful death damages. She also has filed a proposed complaint for damages against the doctor who treated her husband and the hospital where he was treated. 

The Montgomery County prosecutor decided in March to not file charges against Trooper Daniel Organ because he reacted in self-defense when Glenn Whitesell reached for a gun as the trooper approached. Gloria Whitesell has said she was not surprised by the decision

In Indiana, people are required to file a tort claim before they can sue a government agency. Gloria Whitesell’s attorney, Bruce Kehoe, provided News 8 with a copy of the document. 

News 8 reached out for comment from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, which responded but provided no comment. The state has 90 days to respond to the tort claim. 

Kehoe also gave News 8 a copy of the proposed complaint for damages filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance’s medical malpractice division. That document was filed May 22 against Dr. Ryan Weakley and Franciscan Alliance Inc., which operates Franciscan Health Crawfordsville hospital. The document says the doctor and the hospital were negligent and caused further injuries to Glenn Whitesell. His wife is seeking compensation for damages.

Kenneth Steen, a Army combat veteran, captured video showing police surrounding Glenn Rightsell while he was on his knees on the rural stretch of highway with police.

“He just laid out and bled there and died,” Steen said in December when he shared the video with News 8. “I do feel extremely bad for the family. Because, I think regardless of how the incident went down, the guy was savable.”

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