Crash Victim’s Family Files Claim
The family of George Valle, who was killed when an Oxnard city fire engine rammed his van in May, submitted a wrongful death claim against the city Friday.
The family’s attorney, Greg Ramirez, said Valle’s wife and three daughters were left with no other option because the city has not handed over a 120-page traffic collision report detailing the incident.
The family has been waiting for that report for three months, Ramirez said.
“We tried to resolve it with the city but they wouldn’t work with us,” said Aileen Valle, George Valle’s widow. “They promised us a report and we haven’t got it. That leaves us with no alternative.”
Oxnard City Atty. Gary Gillig said he could not comment because he had not read the claim.
“The city has been investigating this on a couple levels--both from a criminal investigation by the district attorney and of course the defense of a public liability matter by the city attorney,” Gillig said. “We are attempting to gather the facts and evidence as best as we can.”
The claim asks for an unspecified amount in damages.
Valle, who was born in La Colonia and was active in the Boys & Girls Club, was killed May 8 at Oxnard Boulevard and Colonia Road when a city fire engine collided into his Ford Aerostar van as he was making a left turn.
The traffic report, some of which was released to the media last month, stated that veteran Firefighter Timothy P. Linman’s “inattention” was an “associating factor” in the fatal accident.
Aileen Valle said she and the rest of the family were infuriated by parts of the report being given to the press before it was shared with them.
“It was leaked to the press before I even knew about it,” Valle said. “It is very difficult because you relive the whole nightmare. Day by day it’s very difficult. The nights are so long--but what do you do?”
“She received everything she was entitled to receive,” said Councilman Andres Herrera, who arranged a meeting with Aileen Valle and Oxnard Police Chief Harold Hurtt. “I know that she was very upset because the press received the information on that. I can certainly commiserate and appreciate her concern when the press received the information before she did. But we have done everything possible for her.”
Ramirez said it was unfortunate that the situation could not be resolved without filing a claim.
“The accident is a tragedy for everyone,” Ramirez said. “We hoped it could have been resolved without having to file a formal claim and hopefully will be resolved without having to file a lawsuit.”
The city has 45 days to approve or deny the claim. If it is denied, the family may then file suit.