Family plans to sue DOC after daughter killed in crash by prisoner mistakenly released early

SEATTLE -- The family of 35-year-old Lindsay Hill plans to sue the Washington Department of Corrections claiming it should be held responsible for her death.

Lindsay died in a car crash in 2015 but the man responsible for her death should never have been in the car in the first place. Robert Jackson, 39, was supposed to be behind bars at the time of the crash.

“It’s been horrific what we’ve gone through, it really has,” said Jane Noel, Lindsay’s mother. “I would not want any other family to go through this, ever.”

Noel and her family still struggle to understand why Lindsay died in a car crash in Bellevue in November 2015.

“She was a beautiful girl, I miss her a lot,” said Noel.

Investigators said the man driving the car was Jackson, a man who the Washington Department of Corrections mistakenly released from prison before he completed his prior sentence. Lindsay Hill was dating him at the time, and was a passenger in his car when he drunkenly crashed into an electrical utility box in Bellevue.

“Robert Jackson was a two-strike felon, he should have been in prison,” said Noel’s attorney Mike Wampold.

“The fact is my daughter is dead now, she’s dead and she shouldn’t be,” said Noel. “He killed her, that’s what makes me angry.”

But Jackson wasn’t the only prisoner released early by mistake.

More than 3,000 men and women had been mistakenly released early from state custody – all because of a computer error that had been incorrectly padding inmates for good behavior for approximately 10 years.

For Jackson, the error released him from prison nearly four months early. It was Hill’s oldest son who found his mother dead at the crash scene. Now he and his younger brother are still struggling to cope with their loss.

“The Noels and these little boys are the victims of the State of Washington releasing violent felons into the community,” said Wampold.

The tort claim filed by Lindsay’s parents on her kids’ behalf doesn’t specify any amount of money for damages. The state has 60 days to respond.

The Department of Corrections told Q13 News it does not comment on pending litigation, but shared a statement that reads in part:

“The Washington Department of Corrections recognizes that mistakes were made with Mr. Jackson’s sentencing calculations and that Ms. Hill’s family has experienced a tragic loss.”

Lindsay’s mother wants to make sure the state doesn’t make another mistake like this again.

“If it wouldn’t have been Lindsey it would have been another family,” she said.

Jackson was sentenced in December for the crash that killed Hill. He is scheduled to spend the rest of his life in prison under the three-strikes law for repeat offenders.