County settles wrongful death lawsuit

YUMA, Ariz. – The Yuma County Board of Supervisors voted to pay nearly half a million dollar in a wrongful death lawsuit Monday.

The county will pay $300,000 following a year long lawsuit involving a former Arizona police officer Garrett Peterson who committed suicide at the Yuma County Detention Center in 2014. Peterson’s estate filed the suit in February of 2015. Susan Thorpe the Yuma county administrator says the money will come from the county jail district fund,“The county will pay $300,000 and CHC will pay $100,000,” says Thorpe.

The board voted unanimously to approve the settlement says Thorpe, “The Board heard the settlement details in executive session, returned to open session and approved the settlement recommended by the County Attorney’s office. The vote was 4-0 and one Supervisor was not in attendance for the meeting.”

Peterson was arrested near Yuma after leading police in a car chase on Interstate 8. He was arrested after crashing head on into a tractor-trailer. He was taken to the Yuma County Detention Center when in April of 2014 he was found dead inside his cell by deputies. The autopsy revealed it was suicide.

Peterson was known to have mental issues and was supposed to be watched by officials. The settlement will go to Peterson’s two sons.

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