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Oklahoma City Council settles insurance claim for police recruit's widow, children

Kelley Chase died of head injuries after an accident in a police academy training class.
by William Crum Modified: December 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm •  Published: December 18, 2013

The Oklahoma City Council agreed Tuesday to settle the life insurance claim filed by the widow of police recruit Kelley Chase, who died after a training accident.

The city will pay $25,000 to Elke Meeus and her children.

Chase, 38, died Oct. 13, 2012, of head injuries suffered during a training exercise at the police academy. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he had completed 20 weeks of the 26-week course.

Meeus filed a claim against the city earlier this year, saying she and her two children were improperly denied $41,000 in life insurance benefits.

She said her husband opted for $122,000 worth of supplemental life insurance coverage — three times his annual salary — when he joined his recruit class in May 2012.

The insurance company agreed to pay $81,000, double Chase's salary.

Meeus said paperwork was mishandled by the city or the insurance company.

In a memo to the city council, city attorney Ken Jordan said there was no documentation that the city mailed Chase a form required to qualify for life insurance at three times his salary.

Records showed the forms were mailed to other recruits.

The $25,000 settlement is the maximum allowed under state law, Jordan wrote.