CHP officer who ran stop light charged with manslaughter in death of Fresno man

'It hurts every day. The hole in my heart will never close,' the victim's son says.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dominic Ricardo's life flipped upside down when his father died in a crash with a CHP officer who had run a stop sign.

The broken glass of Fred Ricardo's pickup truck still littered the intersection of Brawley and Kearney two weeks later when friends and family gathered to honor his memory.

But Dominic told Action News then he still hadn't gotten a solid answer about what really happened.

The picture recently came into focus when prosecutors charged CHP officer Bradley Bowman with misdemeanor manslaughter.

"It's a clear indication that the officer was at fault in this accident and that he committed a gross violation of either the policies and procedures of the highway patrol or the vehicle code," says Mark Coleman, Dominic's attorney.

RELATED: Fresno family seeking truth after CHP officer runs stop sign, kills man

Coleman filed a $5 million government claim for wrongful death and then a lawsuit on Dominic's behalf.

The CHP didn't want to comment on pending litigation, but the attorney general's office submitted some possible defenses to a civil court judge.

They said a public employee isn't liable for injuries or damages caused while responding to an emergency call or while chasing a suspect, but the CHP has acknowledged Officer Bowman was not involved in a chase at the time of the crash.

The attorney general's office also said that even if Fred Ricardo is entitled to damages based on the officer causing the crash, the damages should be reduced because he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

"...which I think would backfire when you get broadsided by a highway patrol car at a high rate of speed. If they were to claim you caused your own death because you weren't wearing a seat belt, that wouldn't bode well in front of a jury," said Coleman.

The civil case could drag on for years, but Bowman is due in court to face the manslaughter case later this month.

And Dominic Ricardo says that's a start for his healing.

"It hurts every day. The hole in my heart will never close. But with all this, that's happening," he says.
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