A woman who was injured during a police pursuit by San Diego police officers that resulted in her boyfriend's death has filed a claim against the city, a precursor to a lawsuit.
Angelica Sanchez was riding on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle in Serra Mesa in March of this year when the pursuit occurred.
Sanchez’s boyfriend, William Flores, ran a red light at the intersection of Pinecrest Avenue and Murray Ridge Road at around 9:30 a.m. Officers witnessed the violation and attempted to pull Flores over. But he refused to stop. Instead he pulled onto Interstate 805 and rode south with his girlfriend Sanchez holding on.
Not long after, several police cruisers joined in the high-speed pursuit. Flores lost control of the motorcycle while attempting to exit the freeway in National City. His motorcycle collided with a concrete barrier, sending Sanchez airborne. Flores died at the scene of the accident. Sanchez broke her arm and pelvis and injured her back.
According to the claim, submitted on September 13, the pursuit was "wrongfully initiated" and put Sanchez, her boyfriend, and the greater public at risk. The claim estimates the damages to Sanchez are more than one million dollars.
Sanchez’s attorney, Christina Denning, has represented families of those who have died during high-speed chases in California. Most notably, Denning represented the family of a man who died after his car was struck by a person fleeing from police in Riverside County. In that case, Rosemary Morgan et. al. v. Beaumont Police Department, an appellate court found that the Beaumont Police Department had failed to inform its officers on the policy of police pursuits. By doing so, the appellate court decided, the city could be held liable.
Denning wrote about the decision in a July 2016 op-ed in the Times of San Diego.
The city has until mid-December to accept or reject Sanchez’s claim.