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Family of woman killed in crash with LAPD cruiser files lawsuit

May 14, 2010 |  9:33 am

The family of a woman killed after being struck by a Los Angeles police cruiser is suing the department.

The parents of Devin Leigh Petelski, 25, on Thursday filed a lawsuit alleging negligence. Petelski was killed Oct. 15 when her car was struck by a police patrol car that allegedly had neither its flashing lights or sirens on as it sped to a burglary call shortly before midnight. She died two days later at UCLA Medical Center.

The officers -- Ramon Vasquez and James Eldridge -- hadn’t notified dispatchers that they were heading to a burglary-in-progress call, police investigators later told The Times, and were traveling above the posted 40 mph at Glyndon Avenue and Venice Boulevard. In the crash, their patrol car spun around and hit a tree. The department had recently enacted a policy requiring patrol cars to use lights and sirens when exceeding the speed limit on the way to a 911 call.

The crash outraged nearby residents, who held a candlelight march from the accident site to the LAPD’s Pacific Division, and created a Facebook page to seek witnesses to the crash.

Petelski, who graduated from Crossroads High School in Santa Monica and studied communications at UC Santa Barbara, was a substance abuse counselor at the time of her death.

-- Sam Quinones