County Settles Suit With Crash Victim; Sheriff’s Patrol Car Ran Red Light; Man Suffered Back Injury

Man Suffered Back Injury

County government officials have agreed to pay $100,000 to a former Marine who suffered a spinal injury after his car was struck by a sheriff’s patrol car that ran a red light while responding to a call in September 1997.

The payment, which was approved by county supervisors yesterday, settles a civil lawsuit filed against the county by Ronald LeFlore, 25.

LeFlore had been working a second job as a pizza deliveryman the night of the accident. His back injury cut short his plans for a Marine Corps career and he received a medical discharge from the military, said LeFlore’s attorney, David R. Miller.

Assistant County Counsel Diane Bardsley said sheriff’s Deputy Ronald Halstead was responding to a call for assistance without his lights or siren on when he drove through a red light at a Vista intersection. Halstead braked and his car skidded into LeFlore’s vehicle.

LeFlore suffered a disc bulge as a result of the crash, Bardsley said.

The county originally rejected a claim filed by LeFlore. But the Board of Supervisors agreed in closed session to settle the case because it involved “probable liability,” and the settlement was for an amount far less than the damages being sought, Bardsley said.

LeFlore, who now lives in Georgia and works for a job-placement agency, recently learned he will not require surgery, Miller said. He still suffers from lower back pain.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ron Reina said he could not say whether Halstead was disciplined as a result of the traffic accident because it was a personnel matter.