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Santa Clara County reaches third settlement in case of deputy wh

The San Jose Mercury News: Santa Clara County reaches third settlement in case of deputy who ran over cyclists.

By Sandra Gonzales
sgonzales@mercurynews.com
Posted: 11/05/2009 07:09:09 PM PST
Updated: 11/05/2009 07:09:30 PM PST

Santa Clara County has agreed to pay $800,000 to the father of Kristy Gough, the bicyclist killed in a traffic accident involving a sheriff’s deputy.

Thursday, the county announced the settlement with her father, Rip Gough — the third agreement in the wrongful death case against the county. Last month, the county agreed to pay $1.2 million to Kristy Gough’s mother, Karen Clarkson.

Gough, a 30-year-old, world-class athlete, and Matt Peterson were cycling along Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino in March 2008 when a sheriff’s deputy fell asleep behind the wheel and drifted across the roadway, striking them. Peterson’s family also recently settled with the county for $2.3 million.

A third cyclist, Christopher Knapp, was injured but recovered. His personal injury claim against the county is pending.

Just days after the crash, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith admitted that the county was responsible for the crash.

The deputy behind the wheel, 28-year-old James "Tommy" Council, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced in August to four months of house arrest and 20 weeks of community service. Smith had already demoted him to a civilian job with less pay.