A wrongful-death claim against the city of Long Beach has been filed on behalf of the daughter of a woman killed when, authorities said, a police-pursued suspect slammed into her vehicle in May.
The claim, filed Nov. 4, says the city is at least partly responsible for the death of Jessica Bingaman, 41, of Long Beach. She was transporting six dogs when a van slammed into her vehicle in a residential area at Third Street and Temple Avenue, authorities have said.
The crash killed Bingaman and five of the six dogs.
Police had started pursuing the van, reported stolen, after attempting to pull it over at Alamitos Avenue and East Broadway. The suspect, Javier Olivarez Jr., 44, was hospitalized for injuries suffered in the crash and then was arrested.
“The Long Beach Police Department knew the driver who caused the crash, because of his previous involvement with the police but pursued him anyway,” the claim says.
DonAnn Lawson, Bingaman’s mother, filed the claim on behalf of her 11-year-old granddaughter. Lawson could not be reached for comment.
“Any loss of life, regardless of the circumstances, is always tragic,” the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement on Thursday. “The department is fully cooperating with the City Attorney’s Office in the pending litigation.”
Filing a claim is required in California before a lawsuit can be pursued against a public agency. But a claim does not necessarily mean a suit will be filed in the case.
Bingaman was known and well-liked by many in the community.
She was shuttling the dogs in her vehicle as part of her dog daycare service, The Pawtenders.
Community members have raised more than $44,000 toward creating a pet-rescue fund in her name and a college fund for her daughter.
Olivarez faces nine felony counts, including murder and animal-cruelty charges, as a result of the crash. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remained jailed without the option of posting bail.
Police described Olivarez as a known gang member. At the time of the pursuit, Olivarez was wanted for a parole violation.