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Peralta grandfather loses life after being struck by police car

A long-time veteran of the Los Lunas Police Department struck and killed a 69-year-old man the afternoon of Wednesday, May 17, 2017. The School Resource officer had been dispatched to Valencia Elementary School that a day after it had been reported that shots had been fired there. The decedent was returning from picking up his three grandchildren, two 6-year-old boys and a 17-year-old girl, at the time.

The accident occurred in Peralta along Molina Road near the intersection with State Road 47. As the 33-year veteran officer approached the intersection trying to make it to the school, he collided with the decedent's car. Once help arrived, he relayed to crash scene investigators that he had thought that the man was attempting to yield to him as he passed. However, he was not. He t-boned his car as a result.

Witnesses at the scene recounted having seen the man's grandchildren scream then get out of the car right after being struck. The were ultimately were deemed to have suffered minor injuries. As for their grandfather, witnesses reported seeing him slumped over in the driver's seat of his car with his body resting atop the center console as his grandchildren exited it.

As for the officer, his employer reports that he has never been involved in any major incidents during his time on the police force. They, however, cautioned that state police investigators would be working together with the district attorney's office to decide whether any criminal charges will be filed for his involvement in the crash.

In terms of the shooting that the officer was responding to at the time, it involved a passerby firing shots at middle school students as they worked on a community project along De Hann Loop. The suspect in that case remains at large.

Even if prosecutors don't file charges against the officer for his role in causing the grandfather's death, his partner may decide to work with a Los Lunas car accident attorney to file a civil lawsuit against him. If she does, she may claim that her partner's wrongful death resulted from the officer's negligence. If successful, she may be eligible to recover not only funeral costs for her partner, but also medical costs for her grandchildren.

Source: kob.com, "Family distraught after fatal officer-involved wreck," Kasia Gregorczyk, May 18, 2017

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