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Wrongful death suit filed in '06 fatal Wonder Lake shooting

Wrongful-death allegations accuse deputy of using excessive force

WOODSTOCK – Although federal claims were dismissed, surviving family members of a man killed in an officer-involved shooting have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in state court against the McHenry County sheriff’s deputies who tried to subdue him.

David Maxson died Sept. 20, 2006, four days after police were called to his house for a report of a suicidal person. According to police, Maxson, 43, had threatened to kill himself, and charged the officers with a knife.

A federal lawsuit, filed in 2007, was dismissed in February when U.S. District Judge Frederick Kapala found that Maxson’s civil rights were not violated when police entered his Wonder Lake home. Kapala dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it could be refiled in state court.

According to the civil complaint, former McHenry County sheriff’s deputy Zane Seipler fired three rounds from a typically nonlethal weapon loaded with beanbag bullets. Maxson was struck in the chest, back and back of the head.

A state police investigation into the incident at the time determined that Seipler acted appropriately and was justified in using force to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another person.

Maxson’s ex-wife, Kelly Dooley-Trewartha, is seeking unspecified damages in the three-count lawsuit filed in McHenry County on March 14. She says Seipler used excessive force and acted recklessly without consent or provocation in attempting to subdue Maxson. Four other deputies were named in the lawsuit, as was a Wonder Lake police officer.

The attorney representing Dooley-Trewartha wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Seipler was involved in a more recent shooting in November 2012 involving a Marengo man who police said pointed a gun at deputies. Seipler fired beanbag rounds at Edward P. Bolen, who sustained minor injuries as a result. Bolen was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and his case is pending before McHenry County Judge Gordon Graham.

Seipler no longer works for the sheriff’s department, having twice been fired for unrelated reasons.

The Maxson case is scheduled for a conference on June 13 before McHenry County Judge Thomas Meyer.

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