Cloverdale crash victim's family questions investigation

  • PC: The driveway in front of Rob Dailey's Cloverdale hilltop home has slipped and cracked over the past 5 years due to CalTrans improvements to Highway 101. cc0418_Dailey_HomeSlide.jpg
    4/19/2001: B1-C: The driveway of Police Chief Rob Dailey's Cloverdale home has slipped and cracked in the wake of the 1994 construction of the Highway 101 bypass to the east.

The family of an elderly Cloverdale woman who died after she was struck in a downtown parking lot by retired Police Chief Rob Dailey is raising questions about how local police handled their investigation of the crash, given Dailey's former post as department head.

Though retired 10 years before the Jan. 31 accident that resulted in the death of Margaret Joyce Ross, 87, Dailey's 33-year connection to the department provoked immediate concerns about investigators' neutrality in the case, said personal injury attorney Barbara Bozman-Moss, who is representing Ross' family.

Still-unanswered questions also suggest the accident did not receive sufficient scrutiny, given the gravity of Ross' injuries, said Bozman-Moss, who is preparing to file a wrongful death suit against Dailey on the Rosses' behalf.

"You can't leave any stone unturned," Bozman-Moss said, "and it feels like there's a stone unturned."

On the morning of Jan. 31, Ross and her daughter, Trisha Ross, 51, had parked at the downtown Exchange Bank and were walking across the parking lot to the ATM when Dailey turned in from South Cloverdale Boulevard.

His Chevrolet Silverado was traveling 2 or 3 mph when he struck both women, knocking them over and causing both to suffer head injuries, a police report on the accident says.

Trisha Ross told police the pickup driver "was looking down and did not see them until the collision occurred," according to the report.

Dailey told the investigating officer his attention was drawn by a vehicle parked to his right when "he heard a thump and applied his brake," then backed up and discovered he had hit the women, the report states.

Trisha Ross, who is still recovering from a concussion, said both women "flew up and landed on our heads." Her mother "was knocked out cold."

Margaret Ross died 12 days later after suffering a stroke, Bozman-Moss said. The police report says a doctor informed authorities that her death "was directly related to the injuries received in this accident."

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