The city of Fresno has agreed to pay $1.35 million to the mother of a motorist who was killed two years ago in a collision with a police car.
Matthew M. White, 28, was killed. The city settled with his mother, Pamela Matthews, who was represented by Fresno attorney Daniel Baradat, who filed a wrongful death suit in March 2012, accusing the city of negligence.
At the time of the collision, police said White, driving alone, made a turn into the path of the northbound police car on Brawley Avenue, north of San Jose Avenue, around 2:50 a.m. Oct. 3, 2011.
The patrol car was on its way to a report of a northwest Fresno burglary involving a gun, police said, and preliminary reports indicated the officer believed he had the right of way when the collision occurred.
But once police got to the scene, they found there was no burglary, Capt. Andy Hall said back then.
Baradat said the Fresno Police Department exonerated the officer of negligence. But he said an investigation by his firm "proved otherwise."
Baradat said the officer did not have his emergency lights activated.
Police also said the patrol car's speed was not excessive and was believed to be between 40 mph and 50 mph. But Baradat said the officer was going to a nonemergency call, traveling at 59 mph in a 40 mph zone.
When White made his turn, the police cruiser struck his 1987 white two-door Mazda 626 broadside between the tires on the passenger side, killing him.
"Matthews lost her only son as a result of this accident," Baradat said, noting that the city paid the settlement to avoid a trial that was scheduled to begin next month.
Court records identify the officer as Mandeep Singh Kehla. It is unclear if he still works for the Police Department. Efforts to speak with City Attorney Doug Sloan or attorney David Overstreet IV, who represented the city, were unsuccessful.
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