The family of a 101-year-old woman who was killed in 2013 when a St. Paul police officer backed a squad into her is suing the officer and the city for wrongful death.
Roza Sakhina, who immigrated to St. Paul in 1991 after surviving the Russian Revolution, Stalin's terror and the siege of Leningrad, was critically injured on Aug. 16 when officer Lori Lin Goulet's SUV squad collided with her. Sakhina died five days later.
The suit, filed by Sakhina's son, is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.
"As a result of the incident, the next of kin of Roza Sakhina incurred medical, funeral and burial expenses and have lost and will lose the counsel, guidance, aid, advice, comfort, assistance and companionship of Roza Sakhina…," said the suit, filed Jan. 2.
The day of the collision, Goulet had responded to a juvenile disturbance on the 800 block of S. Cleveland Avenue. A witness said that Goulet's squad was parked at an angle to the sidewalk while four other squads were parked parallel to the sidewalk.
Goulet was backing up the car in the early afternoon when she struck Sakhina, who was crossing the street with the aid of a walker. Sakhina lived in a public high-rise nearby.
At the time, Sakhina's grandson, Ilya Finkelshteyn, said that his grandmother never regained consciousness after being hospitalized. She suffered a skull fracture, rib fracture, internal bleeding and extensive bruising, Finkelshteyn had said.
Reached Monday, Finkelshteyn and the family's attorney declined to comment. The city attorney's office also could not be reached for comment.
The case was presented to the Ramsey County attorney's office for review. Spokesman Dennis Gerhardstein said that it was last reviewed on Feb. 11, 2014, and that the office declined to charge Goulet. "Ultimately, we do not believe a crime was committed," Gerhardstein said.
Goulet is currently assigned to the department's Western District.
Personnel records show that Goulet was involved in squad accidents in 1994, 1997, 1998 and 2007. The first three were sideswiping accidents, two of which were deemed preventable.
She was orally reprimanded for the 1997 incident after the department's Accident Review Board found that it was caused by inattention. She was orally reprimanded in 2007 for backing into a vehicle while clearing a call. The board found that that accident was caused by her inattention, and was preventable.