On September 26,2009, plaintiff Cynthia Dempsey's pickup truck was struck by a CHP patrol vehicle on Highway 12 westbound, just east of Santa Rosa Avenue in Santa Rosa, causing the pickup to flip onto a guardrail, bounce off and skid along Highway 12 on its roof for approximately 100 feet.
The officer had received a call that a group of approximately 25-30 people, some dressed in baggy clothing, had gathered at the Santa Rosa DMV parking lot. He entered his vehicle and began a code three emergency response. Between Farmers Lane and the Maple Avenue on-ramp,the officer reached speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.
A Sonoma County jury awarded plaintiff more than $1.2 million against the State of California for the injuries she suffered in a collision with a CHP officer. The State denied liability, contending that the officer was properly responding to an emergency and that a motorcycle driver was the primary cause of the accident. The jury found the officer to be negligent and apportioned 99.5% of the liability to the State.
As it turned out, the call ended up being a false alarm. However, do you think the result should have been different if the call ended up being valid and a gang fight was actually happening?
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