Sarasota County has denied any wrongdoing on the part of the Sheriff’s Office in the death of Siesta Key resident Donna Chen, according to a letter from Deputy County Attorney Frederick Elbrecht to the family’s legal counsel, Damian Mallard.
Chen was struck and killed Jan. 7, by a car driven by Blake Talman, who was charged with vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter. Deputies made contact with Talman twice before the accident and arrested one of the 23-year-old’s friends for disorderly intoxication.
Mallard gave notice April 25 of a pending lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office for negligence in the incident, which was officially filed in December.
“Based on the applicable facts and law, we do not believe the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office bears any liability for the tragic death of Donna Chen,” said the four-line letter from Elbrecht.
“If they don’t think there was any wrongdoing, we’ll have a jury trial and let the people of Sarasota County decide who’s right and wrong,” Mallard said in a Jan. 3 phone interview.
Contact Alex Mahadevan at [email protected].