The city of Tacoma will pay $707,000 to settle a lawsuit from four people hurt in a 2014 police chase they alleged violated city policy.
Two women, a man and a child were injured when a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Jason Michael Haskins hit their Chrysler 200 while fleeing from police. Before the pursuit ended, Haskins had hit four cars and plowed into a utility pole, knocking out the neighborhood’s power.
Police said Haskins had been driving recklessly when officers spotted his Jeep running a red light at South 12th and Stevens streets about 6 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2014. Haskins’ speed reached 60 mph, twice the speed limit in the area.
As officers pursued him, Haskins’ Jeep hit one car, then another, veered into a utility pole near South 12th and Union streets and struck a pair of parked cars, police said.
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Haskins left the Jeep and ran into an alley. Two people who saw the crash chased Haskins and held him down until officers arrived. He later admitted to police that he’d had “five shots” that evening, according to court documents.
While the original lawsuit filed in January 2015 listed only Haskins as a defendant, an amended complaint filed nine months later added the city and Tacoma police Lt. David O’Dea as defendants.
“Defendant David O’Dea conducted the pursuit of the Haskins vehicle at unsafe speeds, creating hazards for persons driving on public streets in the vicinity of the chase route,” the lawsuit said.
The complaint also said O’Dea’s “initiation and continuation of the high-speed chase of Defendant Haskins was well outside of the policy of the Tacoma Police Department.”
The lawsuit notes that O’Dea was working as a shift commander at the time of the chase.
Tacoma Police could not say late Tuesday whether department investigators found O’Dea had violated department policy.
The Tacoma City Council unanimously approved a settlement of the lawsuit late Tuesday.
Four people traveling in the 2015 Chrysler 200 will benefit from the settlement.
According to the City Council agenda, Marjorie Robinson will be paid $250,000; Nathan Robinson will get $57,500; Alicia Harvey will get $349,500; and Harvey’s minor daughter was awarded $50,000.
All four lived in Florida at the time the lawsuit was filed.
Haskins, 36, pleaded guilty to attempting to elude police and two counts of vehicular assault for the crash.
He was sentenced to 17 months and ordered to pay restitution, but sentencing papers from March 2015 noted that Haskins was indigent.
At the time of his arrest, he had prior felony convictions in West Virginia and Ohio.