Demetrio Sosa, 61, was killed in a Sept. 3 Lincoln Heights pedestrian accident when a car whose driver was being pursued by police officers, struck him. According to an article in this Los Angeles Times news blog, LAPD officers saw the driver, 41-year-old Robert Palacios, who appeared to be under the influence, near Figueroa Street and 52nd Avenue in Highland Park and began following him without turning on their lights or sirens.
The officers reportedly followed Palacios onto the Pasadena and I-5 freeways and into the Lincoln Heights area when Palacios hit a minivan and then struck Sosa, who was walking down the street. Palacios has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Demetrio Sosa, an innocent bystander who was clearly at the wrong place at the wrong time.
There is no question that the blame falls on Palacios, who was not only driving under the influence, but also evading authorities. I trust that Palacios will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He should also be held financially responsible to Sosa’s family for causing his death. In these cases, the victim’s family can claim wrongful death, loss of income and loss of consortium if and when applicable. If Palacios does not have sufficient auto insurance coverage, then the members of Sosa’s family may be entitled to compensation through Sosa’s “uninsured” or “underinsured” motorist coverage.
Sosa’s family would greatly benefit from consulting with a reputed Southern California personal injury lawyer who will investigate this incident thoroughly and efficiently. If Palacios was driving someone else’s car, the car owner may become liable. If the police were not following state law with regard to pursuit tactics, they could also be held liable.