KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The family of a KCK woman who died during a police chase in February have hired attorneys to begin investigating the circumstances around the death, just days after another chase led to the death of a child.
Graciela Olivas died as a result of a chase involving Kansas City, Kan. police on February 17, 2014. The officers were pursuing a man who had committed multiple traffic violations when he hit the car being driven by Olivas.
The driver, Christopher Bradley Stewart, was charged with first-degree murder.
Thursday the KCK Police Department suspended police pursuits, following a fatal accident that killed 8-year-old Jasmine Rodriguez. That chase was also started by traffic violations.
The Olivas family announced the investigation in a statement and shared their condolences to the Rodriguez family.
The statement noted the attorneys hired by the family are from the firm Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman.
Lynn Johnson, one of the attorneys for the Olivas family says the family hopes the department will permanently change their police pursuit policies.
“Their main concern is the fact that their mother was killed and now a little 8-year old girl was killed within a two month period of time, in a result of police pursuits,” he said, “They’re very concerned and they want to make sure that this doesn’t happen a third time. ”
Crash attorney Doug Horn has defended victims of police pursuit cases for the last 25 years. He says permanent policy change isn’t enough.
“Policies aren’t worth the paper they’re written on unless there is a training mechanism for that policy. We’ve got to get these officers prepared to make good decisions.”
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