Sheriff's Office sued over jogger's death

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Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012 5:56 pm | Updated: 5:08 pm, Mon Nov 25, 2013.

SARASOTA - For the family of Donna Chen, 2012 was anything but easy.

"It was an exhausting year," said Chen's sister-in-law, Collette MacPhail.

And while 2012 will end in just a matter of hours, the legal fight following Chen's death is only just now beginning.

"The entire goal is to evoke some changes out there in how things are handled at the beach so that we're all protected and that this kind of heinous tragedy never occurs," said MacPhail.

This past Thursday the Chen family, represented by attorney Damian Millard, officially filed suit against the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

The family alleges that deputies could have done more to stop an alleged drunk driver, then-22-year-old Blake Talman, from leaving Siesta Key Beach on January 7th.  Shortly afterward, Talman ran over Chen while she was jogging on Midnight Pass Road.

Chen's family hopes the lawsuit will bring about change in the policies of the sheriff's office.  "So it is really about making those changes to make everything safer and never let something like this happen again," said MacPhail.

While the family is seeking at least $15,000 in damages, they say the suit has nothing to do with money.  "Money isn't really going to change things," said MacPhail, "policies and how things are handled out there and how things are policed is really whats going to make a change."

The Sheriff's Office maintains that it's deputies could not have done anything else to prevent Talman from leaving the beach.

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