Santa Clara County has agreed to pay $2.3 M to the parents of one of the bicyclists killed when a former sheriff’s deputy drove his patrol car into a group of cyclists.
The payment settles a lawsuit filed against both the county and the deputy by the family of cyclist Matt Peterson, 29, who was killed in the crash. Negotiations are still ongoing in civil suits filed by the family of the other cyclist who died, Kristy Gough, 30, and with Christopher Knapp, 21, who suffered two broken limbs but survived.
Former Deputy James “Tommy” Council said he fell asleep at the wheel on March 9, 2008, crossed a double yellow line and plowed into the group of cyclists on a training ride on Stevens Canyon Road. Before he became a deputy, he was convicted in 2001 for his involvement in a speed contest in Los Angeles County.
Council was sentenced last week to four months of house arrest and 20 weeks of community service after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter. Smith also demoted him to a civilian job, though he could reapply to be a deputy or get a law enforcement job elsewhere because the conviction is for misdemeanors, not felonies.
County officials said the settlement was released more than three months after it was signed because the county was still in negotiations with the other families and did not want the agreement to influence the negotiations.
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