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$12M awarded to family of man killed in crash with LA sheriff's deputy

By Ray Downs

May 31 (UPI) -- The family of a cyclist who was struck and killed by a Los Angeles Sheriff's deputy's patrol car was awarded nearly $12 million in a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday.

Milton Olin Jr. was killed on Dec. 8, 2013, when Deputy Andrew Francis Wood was texting his wife while driving his patrol car at 48 miles per hour, attorneys for Olin's family said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Olin, 65, was hit from behind and died at the scene.

At the recommendation of their attorneys, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the settlement, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

Wood was never charged in connection with Olin's death.

Prosecutors at the time pointed out police officers are exempted from a state law that prohibits the use of electronic devices while driving.

Wood admitted he was texting while driving, but said he sent the message at a red light and that Olin "swerved" into his lane.

"Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under Vehicle Code section 23123.5, he acted lawfully," the LA County District Attorney's office said in a letter.

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Wood is a 20-year veteran of the sheriff's office.

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