The mother of Anthony Donelson Jr. - the Novato man who drowned after fleeing a DUI stop in 2012 - has filed a lawsuit against the Ross Police Department.

Laura White is seeking unspecified damages for alleged civil rights violations and negligence by the police. She said the officers "negligently permitted" Donelson to leave the scene of the DUI testing and created a dangerous situation that led to his death.

In addition to the Ross Police Department, the lawsuit names three officers, Chief Erik Masterson and the Town of Ross as defendants.

Town Manager Rob Braulik said the town had no comment on the lawsuit.

Donelson jumped into the rain-swollen Corte Madera Creek on Dec. 24, 2012, after Ross police stopped him on suspicion of drunken driving. Police followed him from the creek bank as he swam away and vanished under water.

His body was found three weeks later floating in the creek behind Kent Middle School. The coroner's office confirmed the cause of death as drowning and determined his blood-alcohol level as .272 percent, more than three times the legal limit for driving.

The lawsuit, filed by San Rafael personal-injury lawyer Lawrence Strick, is assigned to Judge Mark Talamantes in Marin Superior Court.

Donelson, 23, was a Ross Valley native who graduated from Sir Francis Drake High School and studied at College of Marin.


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Contact Gary Klien via email at gklien@marinij.com or https://twitter.com/GaryKlien

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