DENVER CITY, TX - After a Denver City woman was shot and killed by a police officer at the end of a high speed chase, a settlement was reached in the lawsuit filed by her family.
Amy Reyna, 35, formerly of Lubbock and more recently of Denver City, was shot by Denver City Police Officer Ryan Taylor in October 2013. Dashboard cameras from multiple law enforcement agencies revealed Reyna led officers on a chase through West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.
A lawyer for the Reyna family could not discuss the settlement amount, citing a gag order, but federal court filings revealed a $315,000 settlement. Reyna's three children will receive $300,000, and $15,000 was marked for attorney fees.
"We're under court order to basically indicate that we reached an agreement that was reasonable and necessary for the parties," said Hobbs-based attorney, Joe Zebas, who represented the Reyna family.
Zebas said Reyna's children were the only beneficiaries in the settlement, though other family members were listed in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was dismissed after the settlement and after court proceedings that spanned more than two years.
"The children do look forward to getting on with their lives," Zebas added.
In federal court documents, Zebas explained to the judge that the family "wished that the amount were greater," but added they "believe that it was fair due to the costs of continuing litigation," documents showed.
"The Court stated its agreement that the settlement was in the best interest of the children," paperwork indicated. The parties agreed that the children would benefit most from "immediate recovery," rather than a drawn-out legal battle.
The chase reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. Autopsy results indicated Reyna had methamphetamine in her system.
The Reyna family's case made national headlines when the suit was filed and dashboard camera video was released, showing Taylor fire several shots into Reyna's car.
Reyna was wanted for felony arrest warrants in both Texas and New Mexico. She led police on a high-speed chase through parts of Yoakum County and Lea County. Her vehicle eventually stopped in a field.
“There was no indication she had a weapon. And in fact, there was no weapon,” Zebas said back in 2014.
A lawyer for Taylor released a statement in 2014 when the suit was filed, saying, "It's easy to sit by and play armchair quarterback when you are watching a video but much more difficult when you are the actual officer in harm's way."
"Ryan protected himself and the other officers in the situation, and was not responsible for the events that occurred; Amy Reyna was," said Tray Payne, Taylor's attorney. "It is clear that this is a tragic event and many things don't make sense as to why Amy would take this path. Then again, nothing really makes sense when you are using meth."
One of Reyna's children, Hailey Henderson, who was 15 at the time, said in May 2015 she would "never find it in my heart to forgive [Officer Taylor] for what he's done."
"He's always going to be the one who took my mom away from me," she said in that interview.
Taylor, and Denver City Police, argued they were legally "immune" to the allegations raised in the lawsuit. Other law enforcement agencies involved made similar claims.
According to the city manager of Denver City, Stan David, insurance coverage could cover the entire cost of the payout from the city. He said the Texas Municipal League would be handling the insurance payout.
Denver City Police said Taylor remained employed at the department.
A call to the lawyer representing Denver City was not returned Friday.
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