The family of a Dallaspolice officer who died in a crash two years ago while escorting then-presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in a motorcade has sued her, the city of Dallas and the maker of the helmet he was wearing.
Senior Cpl. Victor Lozada-Tirado's widow and children filed the lawsuit in state district court Monday, saying the city did not give him proper training for escorting a motorcade. It also accuses Clinton and her campaign of not giving timely notice for motorcade assistance and claims the helmet was defective.
The family is seeking damages including loss of economic support.
Lozada-Tirado, 49, died Feb. 22, 2008, when he was thrown from his motorcycle after clipping a curb and crashing into a guard rail. The final police report on the accident said he crashed because he couldn't negotiate a curb.
The report noted that his failure to drive in a single lane was a factor in him being thrown from his motorcycle on a viaduct near downtown. He was in the rear of the motorcade.
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department, where Clinton now serves as secretary of state, referred calls on the lawsuit to Lyn Utrecht, the lawyer for Clinton's presidential campaign. Utrecht did not immediately return a call from the Associated Press on Tuesday. Helmet manufacturer Super Seer Corp., in Evergreen, Colo., also did not immediately return a call. A spokesman for the city of Dallas said Tuesday that the city would not comment.
The lawsuit said that during the crash, the clasp holding the chin strap on his helmet disengaged and his helmet came off.
It said the 20-year Dallas police veteran had only graduated from motorcycle training shortly before being assigned to the motorcade.
"He was not properly trained for an assignment as dangerous as a motorcade; nor was he experienced enough," the lawsuit said, adding that less than a month before Lozada-Tirado's death, it was recommended he have more training.
The lawsuit said the city did not perform advance planning, run through and meetings about the motorcade assignment prior to the event. The lawsuit said that was in part because Clinton and her campaign, which is also a defendant, did not make a timely request for motorcade assistance.
"It was very late notice. Certainly not enough time for the department to go through the protocol," said attorney David A. Schiller, of Plano, who is representing Theresa Lozada and her children.
Schiller said he understood that notice that a motorcade was needed was given less than 24 hours before the event.
Participating in the motorcade meant Lozada-Tirado had to overtake the motorcade at speeds up to 70 mph, the lawsuit said.