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Victims in near-fatal Citrus Heights collision sue police dept

File photo, a man surveys damage after an Oct. 24, 2022, collision involving a stolen pickup truck that came to rest partially on the roof their backyard shed. A family is now suing the Roseville Police Dept over the collision. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
The Roseville Police department has been named in a lawsuit filed by a family involved in a near-fatal collision in Citrus Heights with an allegedly stolen pickup truck attempting to evade authorities.

The Oct. 24, 2022 collision occurred at Roseville Road and Whyte Avenue when a truck matching the description of a stolen vehicle traveling southbound at a high rate of speed struck a northbound vehicle head-on.

A complaint filed last month with the Sacramento County Superior Court lists plaintiffs Shannon Killion of Sacramento and Gianna Villalba of Citrus Heights along with the name of a minor who was also in the vehicle. The City of Roseville, Roseville Police Department, Officer Kelly Sibbitt, John Hayden Hart II, and Hasan and Suda Delic as defendants.

The suit claims Hart was driving the Ford F-350 at more than 100 mph in an effort to evade Officer Sibbitt, who “kept pace with Hart (by speed and distance) the entire pursuit.” Hart allegedly swerved into the southbound lanes of Roseville Road and struck a 2006 Toyota Solara carrying Killion, Villalba, and the minor child, the complaint says.

“The mass of the Ford F350 and its extreme speed imposed such a forceful impact upon the Solara that it ripped and mangled it into pieces, and the truck went flying into the air in a cartwheel motion onto neighboring residential properties,” the court document says.

All three occupants of the Solara were severely injured, with the child spending months in the hospital, the document says.

Sibbitt did not have lights or sirens activated at the time of the crash, the suit alleges. According to Yahoo News, the suit also says the officer got notice of the stolen truck from an automated license plate reader and contends the pursuit violated a Roseville police policy regarding license plate readers not being used as the sole basis for a traffic stop.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Justin Fetterly told The Sentinel at the scene that officers had not initiated a pursuit at the time of the collision. An officer observed the truck traveling at a high rate of speed and made an attempt to identify the vehicle just before the collision, he said.

Residents along Imran Woods Circle told The Sentinel that vehicles traveling along Roseville Road have damaged or destroyed fences along the roadway on multiple occasions.

In a follow-up report, The Sentinel took a look at the multi-jurisdictional maze in the area of Roseville Road and Whyte Avenue. The area is just south of the Placer County line, with Citrus Heights bordering the east side of Roseville Road and unincorporated Sacramento County to the west. The California Highway Patrol is also tasked with responding to collisions on the heavily traveled road.

From last year: Residents say frequent collisions are a problem on Citrus Heights border

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