LA agrees to $6.6 million payout in police car crash that killed woman

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The Los Angeles City Council Friday agreed to pay $6.6 million to the family of a woman killed by a speeding LAPD patrol car. It’s one of the largest settlements ever involving an LAPD crash. The unanimous decision came in closed session.

“It was a big settlement,” City Councilman Paul Krekorian said. “It was a tragic situation.”

Two years ago, an LAPD cruiser broadsided a car driven by 27-year-old Jovanna Lugo, killing her. The officers were going twice the speed limit, even though they were not responding to an emergency. The officer in the patrol car claimed Lugo, a bookkeeper who was on her way to her parents, was making an illegal U-turn on North Glen Oaks in Sylmar.

Krekorian declined to discuss the details of the case, or the settlement. But he called it fair. “This was a settlement that was reasonable in light of the circumstances.”

There’s a serious monetary as well as human cost, Krekorian said.

The Los Angeles Times has reported that the city has paid about $30 million to resolve about 400 LAPD traffic-related lawsuits over the past decade. The paper reports dozens more lawsuits are pending.

“Reducing the risk of exposure to terrible traffic accidents is really important for the city,” Krekorian said. “They’re having a tremendous impact on the budget.”

Krekorian, who heads the City Council Budget and Finance Committee, promised to call LAPD officials before his panel to ask what they are doing to reduce the number of car crashes.

“We need to be more vigilant.”

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