Former Columbia police officer Steven Rios, awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges in the death of MU student Jesse Valencia, has been named a defendant in a civil suit concerning a 2003 traffic accident.
The lawsuit, which seeks in excess of $25,000 against Rios and his former employer, the Columbia Police Department, was filed Aug. 17 by Laci Harvey on behalf of her 6-year-old son, Terrence.
The suit centers on a May 11, 2003, traffic accident in which Rios, driving northbound on Paris Road in response to a shoplifting report, collided with a car driven by Jesse Logan, 75, as Logan turned left onto Paris Road from Clark Lane. Terrence Harvey was a passenger in Logan’s car.
Initial news reports indicated that Terrence Harvey had suffered minor injuries in the accident. Rios was not injured.
Laci Harvey’s suit, submitted by attorney William Beadle of Springfield, says her son suffered serious injuries to his legs and head as a result of the accident. It claims that Rios was not operating his car safely at the time of the accident by driving at an excessive speed and not using a siren or warning lights.
“As a direct and proximate result of Defendant Steven Rios’ negligence and negligence per se, Plaintiff Terrence Harvey sustained severe injury,” Beadle wrote in the petition.
Neither Rios nor the police department has filed a response to the petition.
Neither Police Chief Randy Boehm nor Beadle could be reached for comment Monday.