General Crime

* Santa Clara County Reaches Third Settlement in Case of Deputy James Council in Death of Matt Peterson and Kristy Gough

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Santa Clara County has reached a third settlement in the 2008 death of two bicyclists struck by a sheriff’s deputy in a patrol car. The county has agreed to pay $800,000 to Rip Gough, the father of competitive cyclist Kristy Gough.  Kristy, 31, and fellow bicyclist Matt Peterson, 29, were on a training ride on Stevens Canyon Road on March 9 when Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy James Council crossed a yellow line in his patrol car. He struck and killed Gough and Peterson. A third cyclist, Christopher Knapp, suffered fractures on his left arm and right leg, according to the county.  Council later told investigators that he fell asleep at the wheel. Council, 28, pleaded guilty this May to two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter. He was sentenced to four months of house arrest and 20 weeks of community service after reaching a settlement with the district attorney’s office in a pre-trial conference. Council has admitted wrongdoing in the incident, and  Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith stated publicly that the county is responsible in the matter. However at Council’s sentencing in June, the victims’ family and friends expressed concern that the deputy received preferential treatment because of his position.  The agreement with Rip Gough, announced Thursday, is the third wrongful death settlement the county has made in the case. In early October, the county agreed to pay $1.2 million to Gough’s mother, Karen Clarkson. Matt Peterson’s parents, John and Betty, settled with the county for $2.3 million.  A civil complaint filed recently by Knapp, the third cyclist, is still pending, according to county officials. Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. [flash w=460 h=320 mode=0 f={image=}]

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  • Wow, four entire months for killing two innocent people? Dang this guy really got it hard…I guess that’s “blind justice” for you.

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