By Andy Greder
Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The St. Paul police officer whose squad car backed into a 101-year-old pedestrian has two prior sideswipe vehicle accidents that were listed as preventable in the 1990s, according to her personnel file.
Lori Goulet, a 16-year member of the force, had responded to a complaint about a juvenile when she slowly backed up the Ford Explorer SUV and hit Roza Sakhina about 5 p.m. Aug. 16 in the 900 block of South Cleveland Avenue.
Sakhina, a Russian immigrant who lived through two world wars and the German siege of Leningrad, died Wednesday at Regions Hospital. The cause of Sakhina's death has yet to be released by the medical examiner, though relatives said she suffered severe head injuries.
Goulet had three traffic accidents listed in her file. Two were listed as "preventable," meaning there was reason to believe she was at fault, said Sgt. Paul Paulos, a St. Paul police spokesman. The third incident was listed as a "legal intervention," meaning her actions were believed to be within the law, Paulos said.
The Aug. 16 incident is still under investigation, with results to be sent to the Ramsey County attorney's office, Paulos said.
Sakhina had surgery Aug. 16 and was in intensive care for five days, but never regained consciousness, said her daughter-in-law Raisa Finkelshteyn.
"We will think about (a lawsuit) because of the medical expenses being too high," said Finkelshteyn, adding that the total amount is not yet known.
Goulet's personnel file also includes nine commendations and two oral reprimands. The reprimands for "preventable accidents" in 2007 and 1997 were not detailed in the personnel file or elaborated on by Paulos.
Sakhina lived in public housing apartments at 899 S. Cleveland Ave. and apparently was trying to cross the street at mid-block at the time of the accident, according to residents in the building.
Sakhina's life in Russia included the Russian revolution, World Wars I and II and the German siege on her home city of Leningrad, family said. She immigrated to the United States in 1991 and quickly learned English to pass the citizenship test, family said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2013 the Pioneer Press