Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 17th, 2010 at 9:21 am
The Oregonian reports that a lawsuit has been filed by the family of Lindsay Leonard, the 23-year old Reed College graduate who was killed by a man who struck her with his car as she walked across SE Foster Road back in November.
The suit seeks $3.7 million and the defendants include the driver, Tito Jose Feliciano, and his employer (he was driving a company car); the City of Portland (for allegedly not keeping the crosswalk maintained); and Portland General Electric (who was responsible for the streetlights).
Leonard was crossing SE Foster at an unsignalized but marked crosswalk at mid-block with her friend Jessica Finlay (who died from injuries weeks later in the hospital). The police investigation found that the driver was not at fault for the collision and no citations were issued. Oregon law states that walkers have the right of way in a crosswalk, but that drivers must have room to stop.
In the complaint filed with Multnomah County on Friday (which I found via The Portland Mercury Blog), Leonard’s lawyer, Richard Vangelisti states that Feliciano passed four traffic signs warning of an upcoming crosswalk yet he “took no action to avoid the collision.” The complaint also points out that the street light above the crosswalk wasn’t working at the time of the collision. Vangelisti zeroes in on the City of Portland’s culpability by pointing out that the stop line and crosswalk markings were worn off: “Such disrepair created a hazardous condition.” He also claims the City did not adequately take heed of prior complaints about the lack of safety at this crossing.
After the collision, Mayor and Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams issued a statement to reinforce his commitment to traffic safety and vowed to make some immediate, minor changes to the area around the crossing. Nine days after the fatal collision, the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition held a demonstration and rally at the site to bring attention to the issues.