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New CDL Employment Program To Honor Casey Goodson Jr.

Tamala Payne, Casey Goodson Jr.'s mother, stands with her attorney Sean Walton and her family during a press conference announcing a CDL program honoring Goodson on Nov. 4, 2021.
Michael Lee
/
WOSU
Tamala Payne, Casey Goodson Jr.'s mother, stands with her attorney Sean Walton and her family during a press conference announcing a CDL program honoring Goodson on Nov. 4, 2021.

Columbus officials announced a new commercial driver's license (CDL) program Thursday to honor Casey Goodson Jr., the Columbus resident who was shot and killed by a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy last December.

The city plans to invest $200,000 dollars to start Pathways to Purpose: Casey Goodson Jr. CDL Program, which will provide resources and the skills for people to become CDL trained drivers.

The program will be in partnership with housing assistance group IMPACT Community Action, and trucking school Capital Transportation Academy's Roads2Work Program.

The announcement comes 11 months after Goodson's death, and months after Franklin County appointed two special prosecutors to investigate the case. But Favor said she had been planning a way to honor Goodson, an experienced CDL driver, since his memorial service.

"I did not want his name and his life to be reduced down to those last moments that we've all heard about," Favor said after the press conference. "I didn't want him to just be another hashtag."

Goodson's mother, Tamala Payne, said it was his dream to one day own a fleet of trucks. And while he's gone now, she said the program will help make his dream happen.

"Casey's life wasn't given a chance. But because Casey's life wasn't given a chance, Casey's life will give so many other young, black men a chance," Payne said.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, and special prosecutor on the Goodson case Timothy Merkle declined to comment on the program. Merkle added there are no updates that he can publicly comment on.

Favor said she hopes to bring the program to the city council for a vote in the coming weeks.

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.