Nevada County, deputies face lawsuit in Sage Crawford fatal shooting

Alan Riquelmy
The Union

Attorneys on behalf of Sage Crawford’s children have sued Nevada County and the deputies present when she was fatally shot.

The suit, filed in May in Nevada County Superior Court, is asking for general, punitive and special damages, including those for future wage loss, income and medical expenses, as well as attorney’s fees. The county, as well as Deputies Caleb Toderean and Matthew Harrison, are listed as defendants.

A court hearing is set for early October. No trial date has been set.

County Counsel Kit Elliott declined comment. Attorneys for the plaintiffs couldn’t be reached for comment.

The suit alleges that Crawford’s shooting, which happened in February 2021, led to emotional distress, fear, trauma, loss of support, comfort and love.

“Plaintiffs … watched as their mother was shot and saw her collapse from the injuries and began screaming and crying,” the suit states. “Both attempted to run to her after she was shot, but were stopped by defendant Toderean and placed in the back of his patrol vehicle.”

Crawford was fatally shot after deputies responded to “suspicious circumstances” in Alta Sierra. They found Crawford with her children. A video shows her brandishing a knife, yelling and screaming at deputies. At one point she ran toward an officer with the knife. A stun gun was used unsuccessfully on her, and she was then shot with a handgun.

Attorneys in the suit state that they’re seeking compensatory and punitive damages against the defendants for violating certain rights in connection with “the wrongful death” of Crawford and emotional distress of her children.

Lawyers filed the suit about two months before the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office issued an after-action report on the shooting. The report states that Toderean was justified under the law and “had a reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to himself and Deputy (Matthew) Harrison.”

Alan Riquelmy is the managing editor of The Union. He can be reached at or 530-477-4249

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