A mistrial was declared Monday in a wrongful death civil trial after a Superior Court jury was unable to decide whether Parlier Unified School District was liable in the death of a 9-year-old student who was run over by a teen driver while walking to school in the dense fog two years ago.
Jurors deliberated about three days before informing Judge Jeffrey Hamilton that they were hopelessly deadlocked.
Afterward, jurors told the lawyers that some of them strongly believed that Parlier Unified was not liable in the death of Diego Estrada, who was killed Jan. 29, 2015. Because it was a civil trial, nine jurors are need to reach a verdict.
During the trial, Fresno attorney Nicholas “Butch” Wagner, who represented Diego’s family, argued that Parlier Unified’s attendance policy forced children to go to school on dense foggy days even when school buses were grounded.
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Fresno attorney Daniel Wainwright, who defended the school district, said the teen driver who ran over Diego was 100 percent responsible for Diego’s death. In his argument, Wainwright pointed out that Diego was run over while walking on city sidewalk – not on school property.