Three years after Rachael Kamin was killed during a high-speed police chase involving two Bothell Police Department officers, the court has signed off on a $3 million settlement for her wrongful death.
A King County judge has approved a $3 million settlement in the wrongful-death suit filed by the family of a nurse who was killed in a Bothell police chase on Mother’s Day 2013.
Under the settlement, Bothell police have clarified the department’s policy, emphasizing that officers can’t begin a pursuit without evidence that the suspect presents a greater danger to the public than the pursuit would, according to Robert Gellatly, the attorney representing the family of Rachael Kamin
“The family is pleased that there were changes made in Police Department policy,” Gellatly said. “They’re gratified that the city finally accepted responsibility, after three years.”
The settlement was reached in January and approved May 17.
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Gellatly said that for Kamin’s husband and two children, the money doesn’t begin to compensate for the loss of the 40-year-old wife and mother. The most important thing they could accomplish, after the “long saga” of the lawsuit, is doing everything possible to prevent a repeat of the tragedy, he said.
“They don’t want anyone to go through the trauma and pain that they did,” he said. “It was unbelievable.”
Kamin was driving home to Everett from her shift at Providence Everett Medical Center just before midnight on May 12, 2013, when Joseph Strange, who was fleeing Bothell in a stolen pickup, struck her car as she was crossing the intersection of Rucker and Pacific avenues. Strange, traveling 90 mph in a 30-mph zone, ran a red light at the intersection, according to court documents.
Kamin was taken to a hospital, where she died two days later.
The chase had been called off before the collision, but officers were trained to follow the suspect — while obeying the speed limit and other traffic rules — until they could determine which direction the suspect was headed. While the officers were following Strange, he pulled into a parking lot and intentionally hit a police car with his own, Bothell police spokesman Sgt. Ken Seuberlich said.
The family’s suit alleged that the police officers exhibited negligent, grossly negligent and reckless behavior that caused Kamin’s death. Court records show the city of Bothell contested the accusations of negligence and causation, as well as the damages.
Gellatly said that at one point during the proceedings, the city blamed Kamin for not hearing the sirens while she was driving.
Seuberlich said his department’s pursuit policy has changed every year for the past three years, and that officers engaging in pursuits have to balance catching a criminal with potentially putting people at risk.
He said he hopes the settlement will help the family begin the healing process.
“My heart goes out to the family,” Seuberlich said. “I can’t imagine losing a family member over something like this.
Officer Mark Atterbury, who led the pursuit, was suspended without pay for one day.
Strange was convicted of second-degree murder and possession of a stolen vehicle, and was sentenced to 39 years in prison.
Information in this article, originally published May 27, 2016, was corrected May 31, 2016. The name of attorney Robert Gellatly was misspelled in a previous version.