Claim In Anthony Lescarbeau's Death Hinges On Woonsocket Police Pursuit Policy
Attorney General still investigating fatal crash June 14 after driver fled police traffic stop.
A lawyer representing the children of Anthony Lescarbeau, killed in a June 14 crash after fleeing a police traffic stop, has filed a claim against the city that could cost Woonsocket at least $250,000.
"The incident didn't require a chase," said attorney Ronald J. Resmini, who is representing Lescarbeau's three minor children, two with Marissa Pizzarelli and one with Tricia Ambrosino.
The RI Attorney General's office is still investigating the crash, said spokesperson Amy Kempe, who could not comment further on the matter.
Woonsocket Police Information Officer Jamie Paone was also unable to comment on the case, since it's still under investigation by the AG's office and the RI State Police.
At about 11:15 p.m. June 14, according to court records, Lescarbeau crashed his red Ford Mustang, sending it airborne into a tree at the corner of Grove Avenue and Blakely Street while fleeing a police traffic stop.
Records state Lescarbeau had broken into his sister's home for medical records she needed as she was dying in a hospital. He did not stop for the police and instead rushed toward the hospital to bring the records in an attempt to save his sister's life when he crashed.
Lescarbeau was taken by helicopter to Rhode Island Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Resmini said the officers who chased Lescarbeau did not follow the department's pursuit policy (see attached document).
The policy reads, (bolded text is printed here as in the policy) "...the decision to inititiate a high speed pursuit must be based on the pursuing officer's conclusion that the immediate danger to the public created by the pursuit is less than the potential danger to the public if the suspect were to remain at large."
The policy further limits high speed pursuits to:
- Apprehension of persons wanted for the commission of felonious and/or misdemanor acts that threaten, have threatened or will threaten the health, life or safety of a person or persons.
- Pursuit of a motor vehicle operator who has committed flagrant moving motor vehicle violations which have endangered the lives and safety of others, and was operating in a reckless manner before the pursuit was initiated and is continuing to operate in a manner that recklessly endangers the lives and safety of others, including, but not limited to driving under the influence of liquor or drugs.
The claim, filed in Superior Court July 16, 2012, seeks to recoup damages caused by "...personal injury, medical expenses, economic loss, loss of consortium, support, mental anguish, and anxiety...," from Lescarbeau's death, according to court documents.
Resmini said the minimum amount sought in such claims is $250,000. Woonsocket would bear that directly if it loses the suit — court records show the city's insurance carrier, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, has filed a letter with the court stating the city's policy doesn't cover the claim, which the city has not contested.
Indian Harbor has agreed to cover the city's defense against the claim, however, as has Woonsocket's auto liability insurer, according to the letter.
Resmini said the suit is still in the discovery phase, and a court date to hear it has not been set.