Devin Petelski’s Family Files Against The LAPD for Negligence


The family of Devin Petelski, the motorist that was killed last October when an LAPD cruiser struck her Vehicle at the intersection of Venice and Glyndon, has filed a civil suit for negligence against the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles.

The suit alleges that the LAPD cruiser was speeding at night on Venice Boulevard without required lights or sirens when they hit Petelski’s vehicle.

Click here to see the informative CBS video on the story.

venice crash

From the announcement:


Suit Alleges LAPD Was Speeding At Night On Venice Boulevard Without Required Lights Or Sirens When They Hit Petelski’s Car

Los Angeles, CA (May 14, 2010) – A civil suit for negligence was filed late yesterday afternoon in Los Angeles Superior Court/Santa Monica Division against the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department for the death of Devin Leigh Petelski by her parents, Ron Petelski and Shaunnah Godfrey. Also named as defendants, in both their individual and official capacities, are LAPD Officers James Eldridge and Ramon Vasquez. The Plaintiffs allege that on the night of October 15, 2009, Officers Eldridge and Vasquez were speeding and driving their LAPD car without required lights or sirens on Venice Boulevard moments before hitting Devin Petelski’s car as she was entering the intersection at Glyndon Avenue.

Devin, age 25, died from injuries she sustained in the accident on October 17, 2009. The Hon. Lisa Hart Cole will preside over the case. The Plaintiffs are represented by Bruce A. Broillet, Timothy J. Wheeler and Geoffrey S. Wells with the Santa Monica, CA. law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler ( The Estate of Devin Leigh Petelski, et. al. vs. City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Police Department, et. al. Case No. SC107984
Devin Petelski was driving on Glyndon Avenue and was entering the intersection at Venice Boulevard on the evening of October 15, 2009 when her car was struck by a speeding LAPD vehicle being driven without required lights or sirens by LAPD Officer James Eldridge with LAPD Officer Ramon Vasquez as his passenger. Per the complaint, the onboard computer in the police vehicle revealed that the LAPD’s vehicle was traveling at a speed far in excess of the posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour. As a result of the collision, Devin sustained severe injuries and was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center where she died from her injuries on October 17, 2009.
“In barreling down Venice Boulevard at night without using required lights or sirens,” stated Bruce A. Broillet, “the LAPD’s conduct was not only negligent, but careless and reckless as well. The LAPD’s failure to follow proper procedures exponentially increased the odds of putting a member of the general public in harm’s way. So very sadly for Devin’s parents, it was their daughter who became the victim of the LAPD’s utter disregard for public safety. In seeking justice on behalf of Devin Petelski, we have filed this lawsuit to hold the LAPD accountable for its actions.”
“Devin Petelski died a senseless death,” said Geoffrey S. Wells, “all because the LAPD was driving too fast in the middle of the night without using required lights or sirens. Yet, if the LAPD had its way, they’d place all the blame on an innocent bystander in order to exonerate themselves from any wrongdoing. That’s unacceptable and beginning with information contained in the LAPD vehicle’s onboard computer, Greene Broillet & Wheeler will do all that it can through this lawsuit to get to the bottom of the truth and to set the record straight.”
“Our earth angel Devin is now in heaven,” stated Devin’s mother, Shaunnah Godfrey, “but her death is a harsh reality that I will never be able to totally accept. Devin was both my daughter and my friend, and always a source of wisdom and compassion far beyond her years. Ron and I have filed this lawsuit because we want the public to learn the truth about Devin’s death and because we don’t want to see any other family go through such a horrific tragedy.”
“Through the LAPD’s unbelievably reckless conduct,” said Ron Petelski, “my beautiful daughter Devin is dead. There is no end to the shock and grief and emptiness that I am feeling, that our family and friends are feeling. Words don’t even begin to describe the unfairness of it all, the utter waste of such a loving, wonderful young woman’s life cut short hardly before it had really begun. It is a tragedy that Devin has died; it is an even greater tragedy that the only way to get the LAPD to be candid about what happened is through this lawsuit. Together, our family will stand strong and will see to it that our Devin has her day in court.”

Devin Leigh Petelski was born March 1, 1984 and died October 17, 2009. She is survived by her parents, Ron Petelski and Shaunnah Godfrey, and her brother, Michael Petelski, age 28. At the time of her death, Devin was a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in Communications, and working as a counselor at the Clearview Treatment Programs in West Los Angeles. After her death, Devin’s heart, kidneys and liver were donated through OneLegacy that others might live.