Chandler to pay $100K settlement in fatal police chase - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Chandler to pay $100K settlement in fatal police chase

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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 5:30 pm

Chandler is preparing to pay a nearly $100,000 settlement to the family of an innocent man who was killed when a suspected bank robber crashed into his vehicle during a 2007 police pursuit.

The family of Alex Ahmad filed a $17 million wrongful death lawsuit in 2008 against three law enforcement agencies, claiming the chase was unnecessary and failed to follow pursuit policy. Ahmad family attorney Richard Treon had sought $2.5 million from Chandler for the death of the 24-year-old Mesa resident who was also a student at Arizona State University. But on Thursday, the Chandler City Council is expected to approve a settlement of $99,999.

Ahmad was killed Dec. 5, 2007, while driving his restored Toyota Supra on McKellips Road on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community when suspected bank robber Richard Schwartz swerved across the center line and slammed into Ahmad.

Schwartz, 25, was also instantly killed. He was believed to have robbed a bank in Tempe moments before the crash.

Tempe police called off the search after Schwartz’s driving became erratic and reached speeds of 80 mph, but Chandler police later began pursuit, Treon said when the suit was filed. He said the chase should have ended when the danger of it outweighed the need to apprehend the suspect.

The lawsuit argued police could have tracked the money with a transmitter embedded in the bags of money Schwartz got from the bank.

An investigator reconstructing the crash put Schwartz’s vehicle speed at 113 mph while Ahmad was going 20 mph.

Investigators said Schwartz was committing suicide by turning in front of the other vehicle, but Treon said he believed Schwartz was trying to turn onto a dirt road.

Treon argued at least 40 Valley residents were killed in police chases in the past 20 years. The lawsuit also sought $10 million from the state Department of Public Safety and $5 million from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

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