Art Walk Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settled

The memorial near Fourth and Spring streets shortly after a 2-month-old boy was killed by a car during the July 2011 Art Walk. A plaque in honor of Marcello Vasquez will be placed in Downtown.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Representatives of the city and the Downtown Art Walk have reached a settlement with the family of the 2-month-old boy who was killed when a car jumped the curb and careened into a crowded sidewalk nearly three years ago. 

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On March 19, the City Council voted to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Marcello Vasquez for $500,000. The family sought damages for dangerous condition of public property, negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The incident occurred after dark on July 14, 2011. Tyrell Chandler was trying to parallel park a Cadillac DeVille on Spring near Fourth Street. With sidewalks packed by attendees, Chandler rolled up over the curb, struck a parking meter, hit two pedestrians and rammed into Vasquez’ stroller.

Art Walk Executive Director Qathryn Brehm would not say how much the organization will pay the family as part of the settlement. 

“Art Walk does not believe it was in any way responsible for the accident which was caused by a third party, but agreed to honor this settlement in an effort to resolve the case and move forward,” the organization wrote Thursday in a prepared statement. “We are pleased that the parties were able to find a way to come together on a mutual resolution that was acceptable to all involved.”

Chandler, who did not have a driver’s license at the time of the accident, pled guilty to reckless driving causing great bodily injury in April 2012, said LAPD Det. Felix Padilla. Chandler received three years probation and was ordered to pay restitution to the family. 

Jonathan Dennis of Rosen Saba, the law firm that represented Jimmy and Natasha Vasquez, Marcello’s parents, said, “It was an unfortunate accident but the family is happy the city has resolved the case.”

Following the accident, Art Walk took steps to thin out some of the largest crowds and most clogged sidewalks. One action involved moving all food trucks to a parking lot at Third and Spring streets.

As part of the settlement, Art Walk will provide a plaque that will honor the memory of baby Marcello. It could go in a park, according to Art Walk, and the Spring Street Park is close to where the accident occurred. According to the Art Walk statement, the city and the child’s parents will help determine what the plaque says.  

The next Art Walk is this Thursday, April 10.

donna@downtownnews.com

Twitter: @donnadowntown

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2014