Family of bicyclist killed by deputy car receives $11M settlement from LA County

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Thursday, May 31, 2018
Family of bicyclist killed by LASD car receives $11M settlement
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The family of Milt Olin, who was killed by a sheriff's deputy's vehicle while bicycling in Calabasas in 2014, is calling for a new investigation into his death.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The family of an attorney who was struck and killed on a bicycle by a sheriff's deputy who was distracted by a digital device will receive an $11.75 million settlement from Los Angeles County.

But family members are more focused now on asking the county to reopen a criminal prosecution against the deputy.

Milton Olin Jr., a 65-year-old attorney and former chief operating officer of the online file-sharing service Napster, was cycling in a bike lane in Calabasas on Dec. 8, 2013 when he was hit. He died at the scene after landing on the patrol car's windshield and shattering the glass.

Prosecutors declined to file charges against Deputy Andrew Wood, a 16-year department veteran, after concluding he was acting within the course of his duties when typing into his car's computer as the collision occurred. Wood had been responding to a deputy's inquiry about whether a fire investigation had been completed.

In 2014, when prosecutors declined to file charges against Wood, they said they had examined his cellphone records and determined he was texting prior to the crash, but only when his vehicle was motionless at a traffic light and not at the time of collision. They said he was using his mobile computer at the time of the collision.

But Olin's family and their attorney say evidence shows that Wood was texting on his personal cellphone only moments before the collision.

"He was on his personal cellphone sending a text message to his wife," said Bruce Broillet, attorney for the Olin family. "Then he moved from that over to his MDC, his mobile digital computer, and then was in the midst of preparing that message when the impact happened."

Olin's widow, Louise, launched the Milt Olin Foundation in 2014 to try to prevent distracted-driving injuries and deaths around the country.

"Milt would be here today if not for Deputy Wood's decision to continue driving instead of pulling over to use his mobile devices," Louise Olin said. "He may as well have been blindfolded as his attention was on his mobile devices and not on the road."

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the $11.75 million settlement in the Olin family's wrongful death lawsuit.

Since the incident, the Sheriff's Department noted that it has put in place new policies limiting the use of in-car computers and other methods to reduce distracted driving.

Internal disciplinary action was reportedly taken against Deputy Wood after the crash, but he remains with the department and is currently assigned to Court Services.