The family of the West Sacramento man killed last September when he was struck by a police cruiser during a high-speed pursuit has filed a wrongful death claim against the city.
Brandon Louis Nickolas, 30, died the night of Sept. 4 on West Capitol Avenue near Pine Street. West Sacramento police said at the time that one of their officers was joining a vehicle pursuit, with lights and sirens on, when the officer's car struck Nickolas as he was crossing the street on foot.
The violent collision killed Nickolas instantly, two weeks after what would have been his 31st birthday.
Nickolas' family is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 alleging wrongful death, negligence, deliberate indifference and defective policies, procedures and training. The allegations are on three individual claims filed on behalf of parents Patricia Nickolas and Sydney Nickolas and of Brandon Nickolas' estate.
West Sacramento city officials received the claims filed by the Fairfield-based Choyce Law Firm on Feb. 28, said Assistant City Manager Carol Richardson.
Richardson said Monday that the city acknowledged the claim and has since referred the matter to its insurance counsel.
Attorneys for the Nickolas family were unavailable Monday.
The officer involved in the September collision remains on leave as he recuperates from injuries suffered in the wreck, said West Sacramento police Lt. Tod Sockman. The officer is a six-year West Sacramento police veteran.
Police were pursuing a teenager suspected of driving a stolen car when the collision happened.
The 17-year-old was later arrested after crashing his car into a parked car on Maryland Avenue, police said.
The Yolo County District Attorney's Office later filed allegations in Yolo County Juvenile Court of vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, as well as misdemeanor allegations of evading a police officer, resisting arrest and driving without a license in connection with the chase.
The issue of police pursuits has long attracted attention and concern from advocates and law enforcement alike. As tolls from chases mount, their efficacy has been questioned, and critics have called to curtail them.
In California, 470 people were killed in 404 crashes involving police pursuits from 2000 to 2010, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. Nationally, according to the data, nearly 4,000 fatalities were reported during the decade in about 3,400 crashes involving police pursuits.
Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.