The family of a former Marine shot to death by a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy has filed a wrongful death claim with the county for $5 million.

The claim, filed by Kennewick attorney Brian Davis, says Dante Jones’ family is entitled to the damages after Jones was killed in the 2019 shooting on a rural road north of Basin City.

The Observer obtained a copy of the claim through a public records request with Franklin County. State law gives the county 60 days to respond to the claim, after which the family can file a lawsuit.

The claim, filed June 25, 2021, came just six days before Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant determined deputy Cody Quantrell was justified in shooting Jones. 

Sant, who received the final report on the shooting in spring 2020, said in a statement that he wanted to be sure he had all the available evidence, including lab reports, before deciding whether to charge or clear Quantrell. 

On the night of Nov. 18, 2019, Quantrell claimed Jones brake-checked him several times after he tried to stop him for speeding, according to the Tri-City Regional Special Investigative Unit report.

Once Jones slowed to highway speed, Franklin Sgt. Gordon Thomasson, who is also named in the claim, told Quantrell to “terminate the pursuit.”  Quantrell admitted to SIU investigators that he did not do so.

Jones then pulled up next to Quantrell, who got out of his patrol car with his gun drawn. Quantrell told investigators that when Jones didn’t respond to his commands,he reached into the car with his left hand to take the keys. Jones then hit the gas.

Quantrell said he was trapped halfway in the car and feared that he would be dragged to death, so he shot Jones four times. Quantrell fell out of the car, which continued down the road and ended up in a tree farm.

Jones died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Quantrell had a scrape on his left knee and some scratches on his right hand.

According to his friends, Jones had had mental health issues and possibly post-traumatic stress disorder since leaving the Marine Corps. His autopsy showed methamphetamine in his system.

Quantrell joined the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office just months after receiving a serious counseling at his past job as a Toppenish police officer.from Toppenish Police Chief Kurt Ruggles.

Police Chief Kurt Ruggles said in a disciplinary report that Quantrell pursued a vehicle in a reckless manner for 30 minutes for a traffic violation; pulled a gun on the wrong suspect in a motorcycle reckless driving case and then failed to report the use of force until a complaint was filed; and damaged seven patrol vehicles. 

Quantrell also has been reprimanded in Franklin County for conduct during another traffic stop. Sheriff Jim Raymond said Quantrell lacked good decision-making skills and professionalism during an Independence Day stop in 2020. Quantrell ultimately got a “meets standards” rating from Raymond.

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