San Diego

Lawsuit: SDPD Ignored Psychiatrist's Warning About Teen Who Killed 2 in Fiery Crash

The allegations are included in a newly filed lawsuit from the victims’ family.

San Diego Police Officers failed to take advice from the psychiatrist of Trevor Heitman, an 18-year-old YouTube star who was in the grips of a psychotic episode, says the family of a mother and daughter who were killed hours later when Heitman crashed his McLaren into their car on Interstate 805.

According to a new lawsuit filed by the family of the mother and daughter, the teen’s psychiatrist told police dispatch that day she had been treating Heitman for several days prior and that he “presented a serious danger of violence to himself or others…”

Despite the warning, police, who were at Heitman’s home hours before the deadly crash to respond to a mental health disturbance, left without contacting Heitman.

The family of Aileen Pizarro, 43, and her 12-year-old daughter Aryana filed a lawsuit against the city and county of San Diego as well as against driver Trevor Heitman’s family on July 29 in state court.

The crash occurred during the evening rush hour on August 23, 2018. CHP investigators say Heitmann drove into oncoming traffic using the Carroll Canyon Road access ramp, reaching speeds of over 100 mph before crashing head-on into Piizarro's Hyundai SUV near Governor Drive. An autopsy report released by officials in October 2018 found that Heitmann did not attempt to avoid the crash.

But, as first reported by NBC 7, San Diego police were called to the Heitman home hours before the deadly crash occurred. The caller, according to police logs obtained by NBC 7 and also quoted in the newly filed lawsuit, described Trevor Heitman as “screaming, paranoid, and delusional,” in the call to police. 

And, according to the lawsuit from the Pizarro family, police were provided additional warnings from Trevor Heitman’s psychiatrist who spoke to police dispatch while police officers were at the Heitman home.

“[The doctor] relayed to the police dispatcher that over the course of several days preceding August 23, 2018, [Heitman] had displayed manic symptoms and appeared paranoid, delusional, out of control, and threatened to harm his mother, and presented a harmful threat to himself and others,” reads the lawsuit.

Heitman’s psychiatrist also told police dispatch that Heitman “presented a serious danger of violence to himself or others and notified police of same, and the discharge of the duty of the police, in turn, required that they evaluate Heitman’s condition and/or notify PERT, if they were not part of PERT.”

The July 29 lawsuit from the Pizarro family is not the only potential legal action the city will face over the crash.

In February, NBC 7 obtained a legal claim filed by the family of Trevor Heitman against the city and county of San Diego requesting a grand jury investigation of San Diego Police Department’s handling of the call. 

Heitman’s attorneys said the Heitman family feels the police acted negligently and that the teen and the Pizarros would still be alive today had they acted appropriately that morning.

NBC 7 reached out to San Diego City Attorney’s Office for a comment. The spokesperson for the office stated “it will seek direction from our client and respond through the courts.”

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