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Family of Victim Struck by Inmate in Prison Driving Program Files Claim

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The family of a woman killed in a crash involving a Nebraska prison inmate has filed a legal claim against the state, saying officials need to be held responsible for the prisoner who was allowed to drive a state-owned van.

The claim is the first step toward a lawsuit for the death of Joyce Meeks, of Lincoln. Meeks was killed on June 5 when a state-owned van driven by inmate Jeremy Dobbe as part of a prison program struck her minivan.

Meeks' son, Martell Buchanan, says his family wants answers about why officials let Dobbe drive other inmates to and from work-release assignments. Dobbe is serving time for possession of methamphetamine, and has past convictions for DUI and reckless driving.

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services utilized the inmate driver program since 1985, but decided to terminate it about a month after the accident, once the incident could be reviewed.

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