Monday, September 21, 2020

Koussaya v. City of Stockton (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 21, 2020)

Here's a harrowing tale that only gets worse and worse as the opinion goes on:

"Stephanie Koussaya was taken hostage, along with two other women, by three armed bank robbers, Alex Martinez, Jaime Ramos, and Gilbert Renteria, Jr. Used as human shields in order to facilitate the robbers’ escape from the bank, the hostages were forced into a Ford Explorer belonging to one of the hostages, Kelly Huber. A high-speed chase with law enforcement followed. For Huber, the chase ended abruptly when she was pushed out of the vehicle after Ramos shot her in the leg, apparently by mistake. For Koussaya and the other hostage, Misty Holt-Singh, the pursuit lasted for more than an hour, reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour, and included exchanges of gunfire between Martinez, who was firing an AK-47 assault rifle out of the back of the Explorer, and two Stockton Police Department (SPD) officers, Captain Douglas Anderson and Officer Edward Webb. . . . Koussaya ultimately decided her best chance at surviving the ordeal was to open one of the rear side doors and throw herself from the moving vehicle. As Koussaya explained, having already heard multiple rounds hit the Explorer during the pursuit, she believed that if she did not jump from the vehicle she would be killed by the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team when the chase inevitably came to an end. Minutes after Koussaya’s escape, the chase did come to an end, at which point police officers fired several hundred rounds into the Explorer, killing two of the robbers and the remaining hostage."

Imagine being in that situation.  You strongly suspect that you die if you stay in the car (correctly, as it turns out) versus knowing full well (again, correctly) that you'll be seriously injured if you throw yourself from a moving vehicle at 100 miles per hour (or whatever).

How horrible.