Dallas city council members have been briefed on a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family Anna Reyes who was killed when a suspect driving a police bait car hit the car she was driving, city documents show. They will vote Wednesday on whether or not to authorize a settlement of $245,000.
A bait car is a vehicle used by law enforcement agencies to catch car thieves in the act. The vehicles are wired with GPS tracking devices and hidden cameras, and are modified to be able to remotely stopped and locked by officers-trapping their suspects inside.
Officers said Eddie Ramirez jumped into a police bait car the afternoon of June 2, 2008 and started driving away. Police said they began chasing Ramirez before they quickly lost sight of him.
Then, minutes later, a second patrol car spotted the bait car turning onto Montreal in Oak Cliff. That's when the department made the call to remotely disable the vehicle, but it was too late.
Ramirez slammed into a car driven by Reyes. Police said Ramirez was still traveling 75 miles an hour. Reyes, who was 83, did not survive.
The bait car program was temporarily suspended while the department investigated the incident.
In the weeks following the crash, the department re-wrote its bait car policy. Police said their software program took too long for the car to actually deactivate once the order was given. Under the new system, officers are able to stop the vehicle from operating much quicker.
Once the new systems were put in place, the city's public safety committee voted unanimously to reinstate the program, citing its success over the years.