The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
Instagram

Multimillion dollar lawsuits filed against Knox, Rice for crash

188 Views
Multimillion dollar lawsuits filed against Knox, Rice for crash
DC Staff

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice and suspended SMU wide receiver Theodore “Teddy” Knox are each facing two lawsuits, one for $10 million and another for more than $1 million. The plaintiffs are all drivers injured in the hit-and-run involving Knox and Rice on North Central Expressway on March 30.

Royce West, Rice’s attorney, issued a statement calling out the litigation as overzealous.

“Our team continues to reach out to the victims of this incident to discuss their condition, seek review of evidence and schedule meetings with law enforcement officials. It has been my experience that some attorneys will take a sensationalist approach to these incidents as opposed to using litigation as a last tool to resolve issues,” the statement reads.

Kamlesh Desai of Dallas County filed suit on April 4 against Rice and “John Doe,” Schlensker Investments, LLC D/B/A The Classic Lifestyle, a luxury car rental service, and Charles Bush Jr., owner of the Lamborghini Urus involved in the crash for more than $1 million. It is worth noting that “John Doe” is Knox, though at the time the suit was filed, Desai was unaware of Knox’s identity.

Desai was driving a Toyota Sienna, which was first hit by a black 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, according to the dashcam video WFAA obtained. Police issued arrest warrants for Rice and Knox, who was driving the Corvette, on April 10.

Pullquote Photo

“There’s been guys who played in the NFL after they’ve killed people,” Taylor said. “After they raped people, after they’ve done worse things than what Rice did. You could like that, and you could not like that, but this is not something that costs somebody’s career.”

— Jean-Jacques Taylor


It was the first time the SMU community learned a football team player was named as the second driver in the alleged high-speed crash. The dashcam video shows the Corvette skidding into the back driver’s side of Desai’s Sienna causing it to spin into the center of the highway. Crash data from the Corvette shows it was traveling 91 miles per hour 1.5 seconds before impact.

Desai’s lawsuit states both drivers “failed to control their speed, made an unsafe lane change, and caused a chain reaction slamming into the Plaintiff’s vehicle.”

Knox’s attorney, Deandra Grant, has not responded to The Daily Campus with a statement.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit obtained by The Daily Campus, Desai “suffered injuries to his head and torso causing him pain.”

“They [plaintiffs in cases of bodily injury related to automobile crashes] try to go after all the deep pockets that they can,” retired personal injury attorney Bob Walls of Dallas said. “If these guys didn’t have automobile insurance on their cars, then the attorney is not interested in suing them because they don’t have any means to satisfy a judge.”

Desai’s lawsuit also asks the judge to preserve evidence with a temporary restraining order. The suit seeks to maintain information and records related to GPS data, cell phone data, and bank credit and debit card transactions.

Theodore “Teddy” Knox poses before the crowd at the SMU game versus UNT, in 2023. Knox is now suspended for his alleged role in the crash on March 30. (Mark Reese)

The second lawsuit was filed on April 11 by Edvard Petrovskiy and Irina Gromova Thursday. They are seeking $10 million against Rice and Knox for injuries, property and punitive damages. They allege Knox and Rice “challenged one another to a high-speed race knowing the public road upon which they were racing, U.S. 75 North, was heavily trafficked with commuters.”

Petrovskiy and Gromova, the pair in the 2022 white Lexus SUV, allege trauma to the brain, cuts on the face requiring stitches, multiple bruises, disfigurement, internal bleeding and other injuries that may only be revealed with further medical treatment.

Desai did not detail any specific injuries in his lawsuit, though they are named in the affidavit as “bodily injury to his head and torso.”

“Plaintiffs aren’t required to get specific,” Walls said. “At this point, nobody really knows what the injuries are. When I was practicing law, we had a lot of alleged brain injuries, some of the injuries are suspect. You don’t exactly know what’s going on until you get all the medical records. You need an expert to give you opinions as to whether all of these claims are legitimate.”

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Rice was traveling in the Lamborghini at 119 miles per hour 4.5 seconds in the far left lane before sideswiping the driver’s side of a gray Hyundai Accent in the same lane. After hitting the Hyundai, the Lamborghini SUV made contact with a white Lexus SUV before making a full 360-degree rotation and stopping in the rightmost traffic lane.

From the dashcam video, the Hyundai appears to then hit the Lexus SUV, initiating a chain reaction crash involving four vehicles.

According to the official affidavit, “the suspect and occupants of the suspect vehicles all left the offense location and crash scene on foot.”

The police affidavit also mentions a juvenile in the Hyundai at the time of the crash. Eight total victims are listed on the affidavit, all of whom reported some form of bodily injury to police.

SMU football donors like Buddy Ozanne said he is disheartened by Knox’s participation in the hit-and-run and believes the name, image, likeness rule, which allows college athletes to make money from their personal brand, may be to blame.

“NIL and the transfer portal has made collegiate athletics the wild, wild west,” Ozanne said. “Right now, the only solution seems to be that a young person makes a mistake and has to learn from that mistake. Hopefully, his or her peers will take notice and learn from that mistake as well.”

Jean-Jacques Taylor, Dallas Cowboys sports columnist, ESPN and ESPN Radio 103.3 FM contributor and SMU adjunct sports journalism professor, explained that Knox’s future in football is dependent on what he brings to the team.

“If he’s a star and an all-conference player, then yeah, he’ll get another chance,” Taylor said. “If he’s a guy who hardly ever plays then he might not get a chance. That’s just the way it is. Are you worth the trouble that you have created?”

Rice’s star-power and success in his inaugural NFL season with the Chiefs means he will likely face little backlash from the NFL for his actions, Taylor said.

“There’s been guys who played in the NFL after they’ve killed people,” Taylor said. “After they raped people, after they’ve done worse things than what Rice did. You could like that, and you could not like that, but this is not something that costs somebody’s career.”

During his 17-year career with the Baltimore Ravens, linebacker and two-time Superbowl champion Ray Lewis pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in connection to the stabbing deaths of two men. He did not serve any prison time and Lewis went on to a Hall of Fame career.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Ceara Johnson
Ceara Johnson, Managing Editor
As DC's Managing Editor, Johnson focuses on editorial, political and sports journalism. She covers SMU athletics, local politics and sociocultural issues on campus. Contact her at [email protected].
Caleigh Daugherty
Caleigh Daugherty, Sports Editor I
As one of two sports editors, Caleigh coordinates and covers SMU varsity, club and intramural sports, telling readers what to expect and providing context for the major games and decisions, such as leaving the AAC for the ACC. Caleigh also keeps readers updated on trends in sports and updates SMU varsity sports scores, rosters and standings online. She works closely with the sideline photographer and other editors to coordinate online content for audience engagement.  You can reach Caleigh at [email protected].