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Women whose truck was fired on will receive $40,000 settlement

Margie Carranza and Emma Hernandez, whose truck was riddled with bullets fired by LAPD officers during the pursuit of ex-cop Christopher Dorner, will receive the money to replace their vehicle.

March 14, 2013|By Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
  • LAPD officers in pursuit of fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner last month fired on this blue Toyota Tacoma, injuring two women delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times.
LAPD officers in pursuit of fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner last month… (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)

Two women whose truck was riddled with bullets fired by Los Angeles police officers in a case of mistaken identity during the pursuit of fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner will receive a $40,000 cash settlement to replace their vehicle.

Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich announced the deal reached between city officials and the women's attorney, Glen Jonas, at a Thursday afternoon news conference. Officials stressed that the money was to compensate the women for the loss of the truck and is separate from any discussions regarding potential litigation involving the Los Angeles Police Department shooting incident.

"Now that we resolved the issue of the truck, we can now move forward in this matter in an attempt to resolve the other issues in this case related to personal injury aspects," Trutanich said.

Jonas said he's optimistic that an agreement can be reached on those matters.

"If we can come to an agreement on the value regarding the damages suffered, then the case can be resolved," he said. "I'm hopeful that we can do that based on the fact that we were able to work out this issue."

Officials say Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71 — who were not present at the conference — could receive the payment within the next two to four days. In addition, Jonas has agreed to waive $25,000 in attorney fees.

The agreement comes several weeks after the women were promised a new truck, and two days after they publicly complained through Jonas that they had not received one.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck had pledged to provide the truck to Carranza and Hernandez, who were delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times in Torrance on Feb. 7 when LAPD officers fired repeatedly on their blue Toyota Tacoma.

Hernandez was shot twice in the back, and Carranza was injured by broken glass.

The officers were protecting the home of a high-ranking LAPD official named in a threatening manifesto that authorities said was written by Dorner, and they believed that official could have been a potential target. Dorner at the time had already killed the daughter of an LAPD captain, her fiance — a USC police officer — and a Riverside police officer, officials said.

Dorner was believed to be driving a gray Nissan Titan and there was a crime broadcast preceding the shooting that said a truck matching Dorner's was in the area.

Beck called the shooting "a tragic misinterpretation" by officers working under "incredible tension" hours after Dorner allegedly shot police officers. He promised to provide a truck from a donor regardless of potential litigation by the women.

Jonas said this week that Carranza and Hernandez were first offered a used truck, then a non-four-wheel-drive Ford to replace their four-wheel-drive Toyota. The women also had to agree not to sell it for a year. His clients agreed to that truck, Jonas said.

But then the dealership and LAPD officials said the truck would be considered a prize for tax purposes, Jonas said: "Essentially, they'd have to pay taxes like they won it on a game show."

Jonas said the situation has been compounded by the fact that the women haven't been able to work since being injured.

richard.winton@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

Times staff writer Ruben Vives contributed to this report.

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