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Palmdale: Sara Paynter, Robert Delgadillo Killed in Crash with Patrol Car

Posted on Dec 16, 2013

At about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, 20-year-old Sara Paynter, of Van Nuys, and 31-year-old Robert Delgadillo, of Palmdale, were killed in a crash with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s patrol car in Palmdale. While traveling northbound on 17th Street, the patrol car broadsided a 1994 Ford Explorer, the impact sending the SUV spinning. Paynter and Delgadillo were ejected from the SUV and fatally injured. The driver of the SUV and the sheriff’s deputy sustained trauma ranging from minor to moderate. A representative for the Palmdale police station indicated to the Los Angeles Times that the deputy was responding to a call about a fight nearby; however, media coverage of the accident conflicts on whether or not the deputy had his lights and sirens on, on the speed of the patrol car, and on whether or not the SUV had stopped at a stop sign before entering the intersection. The accident is under investigation. 


LAPD officers were involved in more than 1,250 traffic accidents between 2009 and 2012, an average of about one a day, according to the Los Angeles Times. Police records indicate that most of the collisions were minor; however, some of the accidents resulted in life-threatening injuries, totaled patrol cars, or were attributable to officers violating traffic laws, with at least two crashes resulting in the death of the driver of the other vehicle. Lawsuits arising from officer-involved crashes have cost the city nearly $24 million in settlements or verdicts over the nine years between 2003 and 2012. 


Under California law, those who have been injured or lost loved ones in traffic accidents have recourse through the civil justice system; however, certain laws apply to accidents involving government employees, so the victims of such accidents or their families should consult with a lawyer about their rights.


All of us at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to offer our condolences to the families of Sara Paynter and Robert Delgadillo. 

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