Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

USC, Public Safety Officer Sued For Collision Death Of Student

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

The parents of a USC student who was killed after her car was T-boned by a USC Department of Public Safety vehicle is suing the university and the driver of the other car, reports the L.A. Times.

Jill and Michael Dresser, the parents of then-23 year old Kelsey Dresser, filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Police say that at the time of the impact Kelsey Dresser was traveling west on Jefferson Boulevard at about 6:30 a.m on December 3, 2015. The attorney representing the Dressers says that, at the same time, DPS officer Miguel Guerra was heading east on Jefferson, responding to a call. The two vehicles then collided on Jefferson Boulevard by an entrance that led into the campus. Dresser died the next day.

The McClellan Law Firm, which is representing the Dressers, uploaded security footage that captured the impact. In the footage, a white SUV is shown T-boning a red sedan belonging to Kelsey Dresser.

Support for LAist comes from

The lawsuit contends that, according to data from the black box in Guerra's vehicle, Guerra was driving 69 mph just before the collision. The speed is three times the legal limit that's posted at the intersection, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs also claim that Guerra had worked two consecutive graveyard shifts. The suit says that two energy drinks were found in Guerra's vehicle, suggesting that he was sleep-deprived. "The effect of his sleep deprivation was equivalent to a blood-alcohol content of .08 or greater," says the suit, according to NBC 4. The plaintiffs say that the university had improperly trained Guerra, and that it had allowed him to drive even though he was hindered by sleep-deprivation.

The L.A. City Attorney's office filed a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge against Guerra on July 5. He pleaded not guilty.

Kelsey Dresser was a first-year graduate student at the Rossier School of Education, according to the Daily Trojan. She worked as a research assistant at an autism center, and was beginning her studies in marriage and family therapy.

USC and the DPS offices have declined speaking to multiple outlets on the ongoing litigation. On the DPS website, the department issued a statement that said:

Support for LAist comes from
Our officers dedicate themselves to protecting our students, staff, faculty and everyone who visits the university. This is an unprecedented and heartbreaking event for our departmen