After a recent collision in Antelope severely injured a 13-year-old boy, potentially paralyzing him, his family is speaking out about the role of the California Highway Patrol in the crash.
The incident began when a Carmichael man, 32, was approached by a sergeant with the CHP during a traffic stop. Prosecutors allege that the suspect instead took off at a high rate of speed with the police in pursuit through the town of Antelope. In a residential area, the vehicles drove as fast as 60 mph.
One deputy district attorney stated later in court that “[t]he officer lost sight of the defendant’s vehicle briefly but, ultimately, when he came around into this neighborhood, he saw the defendant had crashed his car.”
The teenager’s grandfather remarked that they could hear the sirens at a distance. As they approached the man’s home, his grandson exited his mom’s car and started walking up the drive to the house.
His mother was still in the vehicle and saw the police pursuing the suspect with flashing lights from her rearview mirror. The car was headed straight for them. However, it missed her car, mowing down her son instead. His mother is angry that the fleeing driver had a suspended license and was twice convicted for DUI.
The defendant was arraigned last week but didn’t enter any plea. He was in court in a wheelchair, crying. At one point, he exclaimed, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” The prosecution moved to increase his bail to a half-million dollars. The judge complied.
Family members of the injured teen question the pursuit policies of the CHP that led to this tragic accident that harmed their loved one. His grandfather claims that when the crash occurred, CHP officers already knew the man’s identity and address. He says that the crash could have been avoided if they had stopped the pursuit and obtained a warrant to arrest him later.
An officer with the highway patrol refutes claims that the police knew the man’s name or address and that the CHP is not to blame in the accident.
Those injured in similar accidents can file damage claims against pursuing police agents and let the courts determine the liability issues.