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Kauai officials agree to $1M settlement after pedestrian hit by officer dies

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Kauai officials have agreed to pay $1 million to the family of a man who died after being hit by a police cruiser.

The family of 19-year-old Michael Kocher Jr. reached a settlement last month with Kauai County, which also agreed to place a plaque in honor of Kocher at a park near his family’s home in Eleele, The Garden Island reported.

Kocher, of Hanapepe, had been struck by a vehicle while walking down Kaumualii Highway in January 2015. He was injured and lying in the road when he was hit by an officer who was responding to the accident call.

A GPS device in the car indicated the officer was driving about 75 mph as he approached the scene.

The officer was acquitted last year of a negligent homicide charge in Kocker’s death. The newspaper could not reach him for comment.

The officer did not have the high beams on his car turned on as he approached the scene, said Aaron Creps, the family’s attorney. The high beams would have increased visibility, he said.

“There were small things he could have done to avoid it,” Creps said.

Under the settlement, the Kauai Police Department has agreed to make changes to its training curriculum, requiring new recruits to watch a video about the consequences of reckless driving and participate in a discussion about events leading to Kocher’s death, Creps said.

“Part of Michael’s legacy is that every new recruit will hear his story,” Creps said.

Kauai County officials declined to comment on the settlement.

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