Man injured in 2012 car crash sues Farmington, police department

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A man injured in a 2012 car crash involving a former Farmington police officer has filed a federal lawsuit against the officer, the police department and the city, among others.

Cody Olachea claims in his lawsuit that he was falsely accused of crashing his vehicle into a Farmington police squad car at the intersection of North Butler Avenue and East Main Street on Dec. 12, 2012.

Olachea claims that the officer operating the squad car, Tyler Brown, was driving 20 miles in excess of the 30 mph speed limit and ran a red light, striking Olachea's vehicle "with tremendous force."

Brown was on duty at the time of the crash and was not responding to an emergency call when the crash occurred, according to a civil complaint.

Olachea suffered head injuries and a broken arm as a result of the crash. A passenger in Olachea's vehicle, Deseree Trujillo, suffered multiple life-threatening fractures, a torn liver and two broken ankles.

Trujillo previously sued the city and Brown in district court in October 2013, also claiming that Brown caused the crash.

Farmington City Attorney Jay Burnham said that the attorneys in Trujillo's case are currently working on discovery.

He said the city is going to vigorously defend itself in both lawsuits "because the accident was caused by Mr. Olachea, who ran a red light under the influence of alcohol."

Burnham said Brown, who was not seriously injured in the crash, left the department shortly after the incident.

Olachea was accused of causing the crash and charged on Dec. 12, 2012, with causing great bodily harm by motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, and failing to obey a traffic control device, according to court records.

According to court records, a bottle of vodka was found in Olachea's vehicle, and he showed signs of impairment.

Brown further claimed that he drove through a green light at Butler when his car was struck by Olachea's vehicle.

Olachea pleaded guilty to first-offense drunken driving on Aug. 11, 2014, according to court records.

Olachea does not deny in the lawsuit that he was drinking, but he said Brown lied about having the right of way and was not paying attention to the road when the crash occurred.

He further claims that Brown was assisted by a second officer, Jason Cox, in hiding his culpability, or Cox failed to properly investigate the crash.

Burnham said Cox was a San Juan County sheriff's deputy at the time of the crash, not a Farmington police officer, as he is identified in Olachea's complaint.

A third city employee, Daniel Anglin, is named in the lawsuit. Olachea claims that Anglin failed to adequately repair and maintain the traffic light at the intersection where the crash occurred.

Olachea is being represented in the lawsuit by attorney Anna Martinez. She did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.