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County Panel OKs 2 Large Settlements

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles County claims board approved two legal settlements Monday, including $2.5 million for a woman dragged under a tram at the county’s arboretum and nearly $2.2 million for a teenager who suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm at a county hospital.

Deanna Sprinkel was feeding her 1-year-old daughter at the county Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia two years ago when she was struck by a tram. The 86-year-old driver, a county employee, did not realize that he had hit her until witnesses told him to stop, according to a memo written by a county attorney.

By then, Sprinkel had been dragged 25 to 30 feet. She suffered serious knee and back injuries, Assistant County Counsel Ralph Rosato wrote.

In April 2003, Peter Ochoa, then 17, was admitted to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with bleeding in his brain. Doctors decided that he would undergo surgery six days later, but tests after three days showed that his aneurysm had ruptured.

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Ochoa suffered a stroke, resulting in brain injuries that require him to live in a supervised setting for the rest of his life, according to a county lawyer.

The Board of Supervisors must approve the settlements.


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