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$2.4 Million Settlement in Children’s Death Caused by California Jail Guard’s Driving

A $2.4 million settlement has been reached in a lawsuit involving three children being killed in an automobile accident caused by a California jail guard on the way to work.

As Tulare County guard Joseph D. Armstrong was on the way to work at the county’s jail, he ran a stop sign while driving at “highway speeds.” He hit the vehicle of Tanya L. Rader, who was traveling at highway speeds. The collision killed Rader’s three children, aged 5, 3, and 1. Rader suffered orthopedic injuries and bereavement.

Rader sued Tulare County, several property owners, and Armstrong. Tulare County was sued under the “going and coming rule,” contending that on a few occasions Armstrong had been required to use his personal vehicle to drive from the jail to the hospital to attend a prisoner. He was not paid mileage.

The second claim against the county contended a dangerous and defective condition on public property. That claim alleged the stop and sign ahead signs were partially obscured. It also claimed the road was recently repaved and the stenciling on the roadway had not been replaced. The county paid $1.36 million to settle the claims against it.

The property owners settled claims related to the signs on their property being obscured, paying $990,000 total, with Armstrong paying $60,000 to settle claims against him.

The matter was settled on March 12, 2009. Rader was represented by Fresno attorney Richard C. Waters. See: Rader v. County of Tulare, Tulare County, CA. Superior Court, Case No: 0-225967.

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Related legal case

Rader v. County of Tulare

Please see the brief bank for documents related to this case.