DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver jury has awarded $522,000 to a former Colorado Buffaloes women’s basketball player after she was run over by a Denver police officer in 2019.
The verdict came down in November. But Quinessa Caylao-Do and her attorney waited to speak with the Problem Solvers until last week, when Judge David Goldberg denied the City of Denver’s motion for a new trial.
Caylao-Do had been celebrating her 22nd birthday on Dec. 16, 2019, when she was hit by a patrol car driven by Officer John Logue.
“I felt like I had died and came back to life,” Caylao-Do said in an exclusive interview with the Problem Solvers.
Crash aftermath caught on body-camera video
Officer Logue had just pulled out of a parking garage when he entered an alleyway in the 800 block between Grant and Logan streets in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Caylao-Do and a friend were walking in the alleyway toward a friend’s house when Caylao-Do leaned over because she was not feeling well. While leaning over, she was struck from behind by the police vehicle driven by the nine-year veteran of the police department.
“She was, like, squatting in the middle of the alley, coming out of the garage here, and I hadn’t even turned my lights on yet,” is what Logue’s body camera captured him telling fellow officers.
The female friend with Caylao-Do that night can be heard screaming at Logue, “You just ran over her like 3 times … Why the f— would you run over her?”
“I didn’t see her,” Logue answered.
Caylao-Do’s friend responded, “I said, ‘Sir, stop, stop, stop.’ And you ran over her three times, you ran your car over this sweet woman three times.”
Body camera video shows Caylao-Do lying under the front bumper of the patrol car. Only her head is visible as she tells her friend, “It’s OK, I’m alive.”
“No, it’s not OK,” the friend responds. “Because I saw this man run over you three times.” She then turns to Logue. “You know it’s her birthday?”
“I’m sorry,” Logue responded.
As other police officers arrive, Caylao-Do, while still trapped under the car, calmly asks, “Can you guys just take me to the ER please?” An officer responds, “Yep, we have the ambulance coming.”
No ticket, no prosecution for officer
Officer Logue was never given a traffic ticket that night. His only punishment was a written reprimand from superiors.
In an email, the Denver Police Department told the Problem Solvers the officer-involved crash was not forwarded to the Denver District Attorney’s Office for charges because an attending doctor said Caylao-Do “did not suffer serious bodily injury.” In such cases, the DPD Traffic Investigations Unit forwards the case to the DPD Conduct Review Division, which determined the preventable crash warranted a written reprimand because “Officer Logue had not been involved in a preventable accident during the prior two years.”
Caylao-Do suffered a concussion and abrasions to her backside.
At the time of the accident, Caylao-Do was a senior and team captain for the women’s basketball team at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Caylao-Do was considered the team’s best player in 2019 and had hoped to play professional basketball, but she said the accident changed her physically and emotionally.
“I definitely was not the same person or player… It’s been really rough. I think I lost a lot of confidence, because a lot of basketball is about confidence. So just losing a lot of my confidence, even today now I still am trying to find myself just as a person and figuring out what to pursue,” Caylao-Do said.
Denver refused pretrial settlement
One thing Caylao-Do did pursue was a lawsuit against Logue and the City of Denver. Just 10 days before trial, Caylao-Do’s attorney, Laura Wolf, said they offered to settle the case for $130,000, but the City of Denver refused.
A Denver jury would end up awarding Caylao-Do $522,000, four times what she had offered to settle for.
“We offered to settle for about a quarter of what the jury ended up awarding us so that my client could avoid the trauma of trial. And they (the City of Denver) still refused to settle,” Wolf said.
During jury selection, Wolf said the City of Denver tried to strike a Black woman from the jury pool, simply because she was Black and female like Caylao-Do.
The city attorney for Denver denied it wanted the juror removed for racial reasons, but Wolf raised what’s called a Batson challenge — a legal precedent that prosecutors cannot exclude a potential juror because of race, ethnicity or sex. The woman was kept on the jury after a rare ruling by Denver Judge David Goldberg, who sustained the Batson challenge.
“I do not find Defendants’ (City of Denver) arguments compelling and persuasive, and do find that they were race-based,” Goldberg ruled.
“I think it was the judge really acting appropriately and looking at the circumstances, saying, ‘I don’t see a valid reason here to strike this one juror outside of the fact that she also happens to be a young Black woman,'” Wolf said.
Despite jury award, Colorado law caps payments
The trial testimony didn’t go any better for the city of Denver.
On the witness stand, Logue testified, “She ended up underneath my car. I feel horrible for that. I — and how could I not feel responsible for that?”
Even though the jury awarded Caylao-Do $522,000, the City of Denver won’t have to pay more than $387,000 because of Colorado‘s government immunity cap that applies to government workers, which includes police officers.
Wolf said Denver hasn’t agreed to pay the cap of $387,000 and has instead signaled it plans to appeal the verdict to a higher court after the judge denied the city’s motion for a new trial.
“It’s definitely frustrating and just not being able to get maybe the justice that I want,” Caylao-Do said.
A spokesperson for the city attorney’s office told FOX31 in an email: “The City engaged in pre-trial settlement negotiations but unfortunately, no settlement was reached. In regard to the Batson challenge, the City’s legal team did not strike a juror based on race. The City does plan to appeal the verdict.”