The city of Euclid will pay $675,000 to Wickliffe resident Regina Hardesty in a legal settlement relating to a 2013 high-speed police chase that ended in a crash. Hardesty was seriously injured during the incident. (She was not the person being chased by the police officer.)
Euclid officer Jose Alcantara initiated a traffic stop in March 2013, and very quickly the driver fled. Alcantara flew after the driver, hitting speeds in the neighborhood of 100 mph without using his cruiser's flashing lights or siren, according to Hardesty's attorneys. The other driver eventually crashed into Hardesty on Euclid Avenue.
Part of the argument advanced in the suit is that Alcantara had no justification for pursuing the driver (who had committed a minor traffic violation), especially at such high speeds.
A jury trial loomed prior to the parties arriving at this settlement. The jury would have been tasked with determining "whether police can be held liable for reckless police pursuits that cause injury to third parties."
“This settlement sends a message to police departments that these vehicular pursuits often pose a great risk of danger to the public," attorney Terry Gilbert said in a public statement. "Departments must institute clear policies and mandatory training to restrict pursuits to only emergency circumstances, and under proper supervision."