Family of Dwayne Haskins files lawsuit alleging negligence in death

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

The widow and parents of former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. have filed a lawsuit a year after he was struck and killed by a dump truck on a highway in Florida.

The civil lawsuit, which was filed in Broward County late last month, alleges negligence against 14 individuals and entities in the death of Haskins, according to court documents obtained by The Dispatch.

Those named in the suit include the driver of the truck, Florida’s transportation department and three people whom the lawsuit alleges drugged Haskins, among others. The suit is seeking monetary damages worth at least $100,000.

Rick Ellsley, an attorney based in Florida who is representing the family, said in a statement released Monday that the accident had been avoidable and key questions remained unanswered.

“The filing of this lawsuit is an important step in the process of uncovering the complete truth about this tragedy,” Ellsley said.

Dwayne Haskins was Ohio State's starting quarterback in 2018.

The 24-year-old Haskins died on April 9, 2022, when he was hit by the dump truck while attempting to walk across the westbound lanes of Interstate 595 in Broward.

According to 911 calls later released , Kalabrya Haskins said her husband’s car ran out of gas, prompting him to cross the highway just before sunrise.

The complaint accuses the driver of a 1994 Kenworth truck of operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner, charging he was driving carelessly by exceeding the speed limit and carrying an oversized cargo load.

It contends the driver could have steered clear of Haskins had he “operated his dump truck with reasonable care.”

The allegations in the complaint also hold that the owner of the dump truck failed to maintain the brakes and tires and make other necessary repairs to the vehicle, and the Florida Department of Transportation had not properly maintained the highway roads, hindering the vision of the drivers.

It argues the company that leased a rental car to Haskins provided him with a vehicle that was mechanically damaged and ran out of gas.

The most explosive claims in the suit allege Haskins was drugged in the hours prior to his death as part of an attempt by three people to blackmail and rob him, causing or contributing to Haskins' death. The statement from Ellsley in his news release adds an accusation that Haskins’ “highly-expensive watch” was stolen.

A toxicology report released by the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office a month after Haskins was killed found ketamine and norketamine in his system at the time of his death and that he was intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit.

The nightclub in Miami that Haskins attended on the night he died is also one of the defendants as the suit alleges it was negligent in allowing drug use.

Haskins was Ohio State's starting quarterback in 2018, a season that saw him set a number of program records as he threw for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns and lead the Buckeyes to a Rose Bowl victory.

He was selected as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious player-of-the-year award in college football, and finished third in the final voting. His high level of performance raised the expectations for the quarterback position at OSU.

Haskins was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft the following spring and spent three seasons in the league, including two with the Washington Commanders and one with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman .

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