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La Jolla family of San Diego police detective killed in wrong-way crash files $10 million claim against city

Mourners enter the memorial service for San Diego police Detectives Jamie Huntley-Park and Ryan Park on June 15.
Mourners walk past a slide show as they enter the memorial service for San Diego police Detectives Jamie Huntley-Park and Ryan Park on June 15. The couple died after a wrong-way driver slammed into their vehicle on Interstate 5 on June 4.
(Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The parents of Jamie Huntley-Park say the city was at least partly responsible in the June crash that killed three people.

The La Jolla family of a San Diego police detective who died alongside her husband and fellow detective in a wrong-way crash in June has filed a $10 million legal claim against the city.

According to the two-page complaint by Ed Thomas and Cherisse Huntley, the parents of Jamie Huntley-Park, the loss of their daughter “has been incredibly devastating.”

Huntley-Park, 33, was a La Jolla High School graduate who played college hockey in New York before returning to San Diego to become a police officer. She rose quickly through the ranks and was assigned to the Police Department’s Southern Division at the time of her death.

The family claims the city was responsible at least in part for the collision that claimed the lives of Huntley-Park and her husband, Detective Ryan Park, 32, and the driver of the other vehicle, Sandra Daniels, 58, of Ramona.

“The vehicle in which the decedent was a passenger at the time of her death was self-insured and owned by the city of San Diego,” the claim states. “City is responsible for (i) roadway design signage, (ii) insurance for the vehicle and (iii) negligent maintenance of [the] vehicle.”

The claim, dated last month and filed by Los Angeles attorney Christopher Kanne, states the wrong-way driver’s insurance policy was capped at $50,000.

“Therefore, claimants are seeking a payment for UIM [uninsured motorist] coverage under the city’s self-insurance of the vehicle, as well as claims for negligent maintenance and for roadway design [and] dangerous condition,” the claim states.

Huntley-Park’s parents are seeking $5 million in damages and $5 million in unspecified future costs.

A legal claim is the first step toward a lawsuit against a government entity. If the claim is not paid, the claimant is permitted to proceed with a suit.

San Diego city officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The two detectives were traveling south on Interstate 5 the morning of June 4 — the couple’s scheduled day off — when they were struck head-on by a car driven by Daniels heading north in the southbound lanes in San Ysidro. An autopsy report later found that Daniels had a small amount of Valium in her system but no alcohol, and normal glucose levels.

Department officials said in June that the detectives were following up on leads for a case even though they were not scheduled to work the day of the collision.

The crash shook rank-and-file members of the San Diego Police Department and sparked an outpouring of praise by San Diego’s mayor and police chief.

“You couldn’t have met two nicer kids,” Chief David Nisleit said at the time. “Both their lives and their careers were definitely on a very, very rapid trend upward, just doing amazing work.”

Detectives Ryan Park and Jamie Huntley-Park were killed in a head-on crash in San Ysidro.

The couple met in 2012 while enrolled at the police academy and married four years later.

Park was from the Los Angeles County community of Whittier. He was working as a homicide detective at the time he was killed.

— La Jolla Light staff contributed to this report.