Experts: As more suits are filed, cost to taxpayers for crash involving officers could top $10M
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Legal claims are mounting in a near-fatal crash last year in which officers allegedly chased a car without their emergency lights on and then didn’t stop to render aid.
All six people in the Honda sedan involved in the September crash in Makaha are now suing the city.
Their family members are also listed, making a total of 19 plaintiffs. Legal experts say the cost to taxpayers could be upwards of $10 million.
The three separate complaints cite negligence, assault and battery, and infliction of emotional distress.
Attorney Michael Green represents the driver of the sedan, Jonaven Perkins-Sinapati.
“He’s really injured and it’s a lifetime injury,” said Green, who filed the claim Tuesday on behalf of Sinapati and three family members.
Another lawsuit was filed last week by attorney Michael Stern, who represents a dozen people: Four who were in the car and their parents.
“If a parent has a seriously injured child, even if they’re an adult, they have claims for emotional distress,” said Stern.
The third lawsuit was filed by attorney Eric Seitz months ago
He represents the final passenger, 15-year old Dayten Gouveia and his parents.
Gouveia was partially paralyzed in the crash, Sinapati was in a coma, and another boy lost his left eye.
Witnesses to the crash say the Honda sedan was being chased by three Honolulu police officers. Two were in marked HPD vehicles, the third was in an unmarked subsidized SUV.
Surveillance videos from businesses along Farrington Highway show the white Honda going by, with the officers behind. Their blue lights are not activated in the portions of the video provided.
“When you’re in a chase you not only have to have your blue lights on you but have to have your siren on. They had neither,” said Stern.
Witnesses reported that the officer in the first vehicle bumped the white Honda before the driver lost control. Bystanders also told Hawaii News Now that the three officers left the scene after the car crashed, without helping any of the victims. No charges have yet been filed.
The three officers remain on restricted duty as the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office investigates.
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