General Crime

* Settlement Reached Between Santa Clara County and Family of Bicyclist Killed By Deputy

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Santa Clara County has agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle a lawsuit filed against the county by the parents of one of two bicyclists who were struck and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in his patrol car last year in Cupertino, an attorney for the couple said today. John and Betty Peterson filed the suit against the county, the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office and the deputy, James Council, in August 2008. The suit was filed five months after Council’s patrol car crossed a double-yellow line on Stevens Canyon Road and struck and killed their 29-year-old son Matt Peterson, and 30-year-old Kristy Gough. A third cyclist was injured.  Council was sentenced to four months under house arrest and 20 weeks of community service last Thursday after pleading guilty to two
misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter in Santa Clara County Superior Court. Craig Needham, the Petersons’ attorney, said a lawsuit filed by the family of Kristy Gough is pending. The injured cyclist, Christopher Knapp, has filed a claim with the
county. Deputy County Counsel John Winchester said of the settlement, “We’re pleased the matter has been resolved. We’re hopeful to resolve the remaining two actions.”

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