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Hilmar parents plan for second wrongful death trial

The parents of an 18-year-old who was shot and killed in 2001 after he led police on a lengthy chase plan to take a wrongful death case to trial a second time.

They came up empty when a nine-day trial ended with a hung jury in federal court earlier this summer. After a brief conference Thursday in Fresno, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill said attorneys can begin picking another set of jurors Jan. 20, according to court records.

Unless a settlement is reached, California Highway Patrol officer Paul Speers will have to defend himself against charges brought by Cathy and John Adams of Hilmar, who contend that the officer negligently discharged his firearm, causing the death of their son.

Speers shot and killed Alan Adams about 3 p.m. June 26, 2001, after the young man led officers on a chase that began after he ran a stop sign in Delhi and included a stop at a riverbed in Stevinson as well as a zig-zag trip through almond orchards and a U-turn on Highway 99.

Adam's parents, who are seeking $14 million, contend that Speers used excessive force.

According to court records, the CHP's officer-involved shooting investigation cleared Speers, but was highly critical of him, saying Speers entered and stayed in the pursuit without approval, failed to communicate and coordinate with other units and rammed Adams' vehicle without permission.