The family of the late Dwayne Haskins, former quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has taken legal action against various individuals, businesses, and the state of Florida. The lawsuit alleges that Haskins was drugged, robbed, and extorted before being fatally struck by a car while he was standing drunk on a highway after running out of fuel.
The lawsuit, filed in Fort Lauderdale, claims that a man and three women robbed and drugged Haskins at various locations, including a Boca Raton hotel, an upscale golf driving range, a bar, and a nightclub, in the hours leading up to the tragic incident on April 9, 2022. The specific details of these events are not provided in the lawsuit. At the time of the incident, Haskins, a 24-year-old man, was in South Florida for offseason workouts with his Steelers teammates.
The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Haskins's spouse and parents. It also cites the driver and owner of the dump truck that collided with Haskins, alleging over-speeding, use of worn-out tires and brakes, and carrying excessive weight. Furthermore, it claims that the truck rented by Haskins had technical faults and ran out of gas.
The family alleges that the highway authority failed to enforce proper maintenance laws, including maintaining road lights and providing clear speed limit instructions. The ongoing construction work and the presence of sign blockades on the highway are also mentioned as factors that worsened the situation.
According to Rick Ellsley, the family's attorney, the lawsuit aims to obtain documents and interview individuals who were with Haskins during the events leading up to his death. This is seen as crucial in uncovering the complete truth about the tragedy. Ellsley also suggested that Haskins may have been targeted and drugged as part of a blackmail and robbery scheme, which resulted in the theft of his expensive watch just prior to the fatal accident. However, no further details regarding these allegations were provided by Ellsley.
According to the death report issued by the Broward Country Medical Examiner's Office in May, a woman who was with Haskins mentioned to investigators that they had run out of fuel on Interstate 595 near Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport before dawn. She stated that Haskins had gone in search of fuel.
Witnesses informed the Florida Highway Patrol that Haskins was standing in the middle lane and waving at cars when he was hit by the truck and later by an SUV. The report stated that he died of blunt force trauma.
Haskins's autopsy revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.20, which is 2.5 times the legal driving limit in the state of Florida. According to the University of California, Davis, someone weighing the same as Haskins (104 kilograms) would have needed at least 10 drinks within an hour to reach that level before his death. Additionally, the autopsy detected the presence of the strong painkiller ketamine and its metabolite norketamine in his system. While the report did not clarify whether the drug was prescribed to Haskins or not, ketamine is known to have both medical uses and potential for recreational abuse.
Dwayne Haskins rose to prominence as a standout player at Ohio State in 2018, breaking multiple passing records and earning recognition as the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten Championship game and the Rose Bowl victory against the Washington Huskies. He was subsequently selected in the first round of the NFL draft by Washington in 2019. Despite struggling with a 3-10 record over two seasons, Haskins was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a backup quarterback for the 2021 season. Unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity to play in any games for the team.