Crime & Courts

City to pay $300,000 in fatal crash

Wichita City Council members voted Tuesday to pay $300,000 to the family of a man killed when a police patrol car hit his car en route to a call last December.

The settlement was on the council's consent agenda, and it was approved 5-0 without discussion.

The payment will have to be approved in court.

The wreck happened Dec. 13, 2009, around 9 p.m. Garrett Shaddix was one of two officers driving south on Hydraulic en route to a 911 call of shots being fired in the 2300 block of MacArthur.

The officers did not turn on their lights and sirens, which is OK under police policy.

Meanwhile, 30-year-old Christopher Perkins was driving north on Hydraulic in a Saturn coupe. He let the first patrol car pass, but then tried to turn left onto El Monte and was hit by Shaddix's patrol car.

Perkins was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The speed limit on that stretch of Hydraulic is 40 mph. Police officials said the officers probably would have been "pushing it" en route to the reported gunshots.

But when investigators tried to review data from a recorder in the patrol car, they found that the data had been overwritten because the car's engine ran for some time after the accident.

The city's decision to settle the claim for $300,000 is not an admission of guilt.

Instead, the city reported, it is settling because of the risk that a judgment during trial would exceed $300,000.

Shaddix remains on active duty, although not in a patrol position. It is the department's policy to let court proceedings finish before starting an internal investigation.

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