Jessica Mohorko, 18

Oxnard, California

Jessica's story at this link.

"The CHP regularly reviews its policies on high-speed chases. Those policies will not be changed."  ..."We're very sorry this happened. It was a tragic, regrettable incident, and if we could do anything to bring that girl (her name is Jessica Mohorko) back, we would. But there's nothing wrong with our policies."

—CHP Spokesman Tom Marshall, November 19, 2003

The CHP cruiser, driven by husband and wife team Jack and Christina Raughtons, was following an alleged speeder and was traveling roughly 90 mph without lights or sirens when it slammed into the passenger side of a car driven by Christopher Haynes. Jessica Mohorko, 18, was in the passenger seat and died at the scene. 

--Reporter Tamara Koehler
Ventura County Star
November 19, 2003

In trying to explain the trend, Erlanger Police Lt. Kevin Gilpin says, "It's funny because when you first get in the job you think it's going to be neat to run down the street with the lights and sirens on, because when you watched it on TV, you didn't think about it. You just go, 'That looks like that's fun.' And to a certain extent, it is fun -- that rush of adrenaline.  But it takes a toll on you. -- because the guy trying to get away from police doesn't care about people in the roadway. So we have to. What's the old saying? 'You may win today's battle, but you're not going to win the war.' " November 8, 2003.

Ventura County Star
Letter to the Editor

Compassion Lacking

Re: Your Nov. 19, 2003, article, "Teen's family, CHP reach $1.4 million settlement":

December 3, 2003—I just read the article on the California Highway Patrol's settlement with the Mohorko family. I was again looking for some sign of compassion for the family, some kind of admittance of wrong, something that would give me a sense of respect for law enforcement again.

Even after the accident, I still believed that in the end they would say how sorry they were and that they would try to do whatever it takes to keep this from happening to another family. I was wrong.

I was sickened by the lack of compassion shown by the spokesperson for the CHP, Tom Marshall. After everything that has happened, there is still no sign of the CHP taking any responsibility for what happened. They attempted to put the blame on an innocent man, Chris Haynes, Jessica Mohorko's boyfriend. If any one of us had tried to blame someone for a crime we did not commit, we would have been arrested.

I think it is time for law- enforcement agencies, which are supposed to "serve and protect," to stop killing innocent people and saying, "Oh, we're sorry, it was an accident," and then continue to let this kind of thing happen over and over and over again.

There need to be changes made so that this never happens again. I am not willing to lose one of my children like this.

The life of a beautiful young woman was taken, a family was devastated, and a whole lot of young people lost a good friend. Their lives will never be the same. We will never forget, and those of us who loved Jessica will see to it that the CHP and its officers never do either. The CHP must rethink its policies on pursuits, take responsibility for what happened and stop putting the blame on others.

God has another angel in heaven, but we sure could have used her here just a little bit longer.

—Debbie Estrada, Oxnard