Politics & Government

DOC to pay $4.25 million to Pierce County woman badly injured by felon

The state Department of Corrections will pay $4.25 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a Pierce County woman purposefully run down by a felon under the agency's supervision, the victim's lawyer reported today.

Kathie Larson suffered a number of traumatic injuries, including brain damage, when Aiyisha Gillespie allegedly ran her down with a stolen car in June 2008. Larson was crossing a street in downtown Tacoma at the time. She was comatose for three weeks and hospitalized for six months.

Gillespie is charged with first-degree assault in the case. She's to go to trial in September.

Larson's lawyer, Darrell Cochran, said in a news release that Gillespie's mental health troubles and history of violence should have prompted corrections officials to revoke her conditional release from prison following a 2006 assault conviction. Instead, they allowed her to remain free.

"This is a tragedy that never should have happened," Cochran said. "The state had a duty to protect the public from an individual they knew was dangerous and unstable."