$4M Settlement in Deaths of Calif. Couple Struck by Sheriff’s Car
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on October 16th, 2017
The families of a California couple who were killed in 2013 when the SUV they were riding in was struck by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department vehicle that was speeding through an intersection will receive a $4 million payment to settle their wrongful death lawsuit in the case.
The victims, Sara Paynter and Robert Delgadillo, were ejected from the back seat of the Ford Explorer they were riding in and were killed in December 2013 when the sheriff’s department vehicle smashed into the Explorer in an intersection in Palmdale, according to an Oct. 4 story in The Los Angeles Times.
The police vehicle, which was being driven by former Deputy Kamal Jannah, was traveling at about 83 mph shortly before the crash, according to a memo from the district attorney’s office. The posted speed limit was 50 mph at the site of the crash and the deputy was not responding to an emergency call and did not have his lights or siren on at the time of the crash, the story reported. At the moment of the crash, his car’s speed was about 57 mph.
Paynter, 20, of Van Nuys, and Delgadillo, 31, of Palmdale, were pronounced dead at the scene, while the deputy and two other people riding in the Explorer were injured, according to the report. The deputy left the sheriff’s department in September 2016.
“Investigators from the California Highway Patrol determined that the deputy’s speed was the primary cause of the crash,” the story stated. “The collision would not have occurred if the deputy had obeyed the posted speed limit, the CHP found, according to the county report.”
Police records showed that the “deputy was responding to a request for assistance at the scene of a fight in progress but failed to turn his lights or sirens on.” A dispatcher had also “clarified that the request was not an emergency, and that there was only a witness to a fight at the scene he was driving toward.”
A corrective action plan filed by the county after the incident “placed some blame for the crash on the dispatcher’s initial request for an emergency response. The department has since implemented increased training on proper radio procedures and launched an initiative aimed at reducing deputy-involved traffic collisions at the Palmdale station,” the report stated.
After reviewing the case surrounding the wrongful death lawsuit, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to pay a $4 million settlement to the families of the victims.
These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.
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