St. Petersburg Settles With Family of Killed Pedestrian

Family of pedestrian hit by police car received settlement from the cityThe city of St. Petersburg, Florida, recently settled with the family of a pedestrian who was hit and killed by a police car for $165,000.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the police department performed an investigation into the actions of officer Steven J. Pugh, who was driving to a possible crime scene last year when he hit pedestrian Terry Barnes, allegedly resulting in his death. It was determined by the investigation that Barnes darted into traffic too quickly to allow vehicles time to react to his presence on the road, was possibly under the influence of alcohol and that Pugh attempted to swerve to avoid hitting him.

The city has opted to settle, however, because they want to avoid the risk of a jury trial. According to the news source, Barnes had an unborn child at the time of his death. "You can imagine the emotional pull that would have on a jury," an assistant city attorney said. 

If the family were to file a wrongful death claim, damages could exceed $1 million, according to the attorney. 

Council member Jeff Danner acknowledged that "there's some fault with both parties," but claimed that the decision to settle was made because "we had to weigh the sympathy factor" that would be present in a jury trial.