The parents of a 23-year-old graduate student who was killed by a USC Department of Public Safety patrol car last December have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university and the driver, according to the City News Service.
Kelsey Dresser was driving westbound on Jefferson Blvd. at 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 3 when she made a left turn on Royal Street, when DPS Officer Miguel Guerra, coming from the other direction, crashed into her. Dresser died from her injuries the next day.
The lawsuit alleges that Guerra was driving 70 mph in a 25-mph zone and that DPS officials knew he was sleep-deprived, the City News Service reported. Guerra had worked consecutive graveyard shifts, and his lack of sleep was equivalent to having a blood-alcohol content of .08 or greater, according to the lawsuit. The suit also alleges that Guerra didn't hit the brakes until half a second before impact because he was either distracted with a screen device or falling asleep.
After the crash, USC released a statement offering condolences and describing the crash as "an unprecedented and heartbreaking event for our department."
According to the Los Angeles Times, the charge was filed on July 5.
Annenberg Media reached out to DPS but have not yet received a response. A USC spokesman told City News Service he could not comment because of the pending litigation.
Reach Staff Reporter Fernando Stepensky here.