COUNTY SETTLES SHERIFF-MOPED FATALITY
The estate of a Fircrest man who was killed when a Pierce County Deputy Sheriff hit his moped has settled its claim with Pierce County for $1,650,000.
Dale Neel was 61 years old and driving home from work on his moped when Deputy Jason Smith approached in the opposite direction travelling over 55 mph to a traffic stop already covered by another deputy and a Tacoma city policeman.
Smith had his lights and siren on, so Neel moved from his position in the center turn lane to the curb. Smith inexplicably crossed the center lane and entered the opposing lane, striking Neel at the curb. Neel died an hour later in the hospital.
Smith was working under contract at the time for the City of University Place. He had a history of 5 prior accidents, 3 of which had been determined to be “preventable” by the Pierce County Sheriff’s office.
Neel was survived by his wife, Linda, and two adult children. Mike McKasy, attorney for the estate, said that as part of the settlement, Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor agreed to meet with Linda Neel to discuss what changes could be made to emergency responses by deputies that could avoid another tragedy.