Back in May, Isabel Pablo was fatally struck by a Riverside police patrol car. For the past months, Pablo’s family had stayed quiet. Recently, however, six family members have filed claims against the city, each for $1 million, according to the Press Enterprise (http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20121205-riverside-family-seeks-6-million-in-police-vs.-pedestrian-death.ece). All of the claims are identical, citing careless driving of the police officer.
According to Riverside Police, Pablo was jaywalking when the officer hit her. Blood alcohol tests later revealed that Pablo had a level of 0.39 at the time of the accident. The officer admitted to be glancing at his computer and typing shortly before hitting Pablo. The police report shows that the officer, Michael Boulerice, could not have stopped in time and that the fact that he looked at his computer was irrelevant.
Pablo’s family is now fighting back. They do not think that the blame should have been placed entirely on their family member; they want the police officer to share responsibility for the death of Pablo.
According to the Press Enterprise, “A spokeswoman for City Attorney Greg Priamos said he would not comment on the claim. Such claims typically are rejected by the City Council, setting the stage for a lawsuit.”
Claims were filed by Pedro Tomas, Antonio Lopez Martinez, Nicholas Gaspar Pablo Tomas, and Pedro Gaspar Pablo Tomas, all of Riverside; as well as Antonio Gaspar Pablo Tomas and Estrella Gaspar Pablo Tomas, both of Guatemala.
So far, there have been no credible witnesses. One man said that he witnessed the crash and saw the police officer speeding. Upon further questioning, the same man admitted that he did not actually see the crash.
If no settlement is reached between the city and the family, it will be up to a court to determine who is at fault here. Was it Isabel Pablo or the police officer? Should both parties share the blame? Though the officer does not currently face criminal charges for hitting Pablo, he and the city may be open to millions in civil damages.