State sued for $6.9 million over fatal crash

Suit claims felon wasn’t properly supervised when he caused 2010 accident that killed 2

jpawloski@theolympian.comMay 27, 2013 

The family of a woman who was struck and killed in 2010 after a fleeing felon’s vehicle collided with hers in Yakima has sued the state Department of Corrections, alleging that had DOC correctly supervised him, the woman might still be alive.

The felon, Shaun Kollman, is serving a 51-year prison sentence for the June 20, 2010, crash that killed Marina Barajas, 41, and Pascual Ayala, 29, who were on their way home when Kollman sped through an intersection and broadsided their car. Kollman was high on methamphetamine and fleeing police, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Thurston County Superior Court by Seattle attorney Timothy Ford on behalf of Barajas’ family. Ford could not be reached for comment. DOC spokesman Chad Lewis said it is the department’s policy not to comment on pending civil litigation. The suit claims that although Kollman was under DOC supervision at the time of the crash, it failed to require him to be classified as a violent offender, despite Kollman’s prior convictions for three counts of second-degree assault, attempting to elude a police vehicle, second-degree burglary, first-degree malicious mischief and first-degree robbery. Instead, Kollman was classified as a nonviolent offender, but DOC “did not even take the care required to supervise a nonviolent offender,” the lawsuit states.

“DOC failed to have the face-to-face, out-of-office contacts with Shaun Kollman at his work, drug treatment, and residence, required by DOC policy and reasonable care,” reads a claim summary included as an attachment in the suit. “During his entire period of supervision, Kollman was in violation of supervision conditions, using drugs, affiliating with drug users, and committing crimes. Kollman’s violations likely would have been uncovered shortly after his release on May 11, 2010, if DOC had acted with reasonable care and followed policy.”

According to the suit, DOC did obtain an arrest warrant for Kollman after he failed to report on June 17, 2010, but “failed to take all reasonable and necessary actions to locate or apprehend” him. The lawsuit seeks more than $6.9 million in damages.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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