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Sunday, April 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Drunken Police Party Blamed for Girl’s Death

LAS VEGAS (CN) - Parents say their daughter died in a car crash caused by an underage driver who got drunk at a party thrown by Clark County School District Police, who advertised the bash by promising drinks and "of course beer pong."

Francis and Linda Peterson sued the Clark County School District Police and 11 individuals on their own behalf and for their late daughter, Angela, in Clark County Court.

The Petersons say the CCSDP advertised their November 2009 holiday party at the home of a dispatcher with e-mailed fliers that promised drinks and "of course beer pong."

The dispatcher is not named as a defendant.

"A variety of CCSDP officers and/or employees attended the party," the lawsuit states, including "CCSDP dispatcher [Tina] Zuniga's 16-year-old daughter," the complaint states. Zuniga, the dispatcher, is one of the eight police employees named as the defendant.

The 16-year-old girl and her 18-year-old boyfriend, Kevin Miranda were allowed "to consume as much alcohol as they wanted at the party," the complaint states.

Miranda left the party with his girlfriend in a pickup truck and ran a red light, side-swiping Angela Peterson's car, killing her, her parents say.

Miranda pleaded guilty to felony charges of driving under the influence causing death, according to the complaint. He and his parents are the three other individual defendants.

The Petersons say when defendant CCSD Police Chief Filiberto Arroyo "learned of the circumstances of the collision which caused Angela Peterson's death, he, and/or those under his direction immediately ordered that all of the party fliers be deleted from computers, removed, collected and destroyed."

"Arroyo's orders were intended to limit the liability and exposure of the CCSDP's involvement and knowledge" of the incident, the Petersons say.

They claim that Arroyo ordered an Internal Affairs officer to investigate, but "although the investigation occurred, no information or investigative materials was ever turned over to any appropriate authority."

The girl's parents seek punitive damages for negligence, conspiracy, emotional distress and other charges.

They are represented by Marc P. Cook with Bailus Cook & Kelesis Ltd.

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