Portland Sued Over Faded Crosswalk Where Driver Killed Two People

The family of a young woman who was killed trying to cross a Portland road is suing the city for not properly maintaining the crosswalk where she was struck by a driver.

Lindsay Leonard, shown here at high school prom, was killed trying to cross the street in Portland. Photo: Provided by the family, via The Oregonian
Lindsay Leonard, shown here at high school prom, was killed trying to cross the street in Portland. Photo via Oregonian

Lindsay Leonard and her roommate Jessica Finlay, both 23, were both killed when they were struck by Tito Feliciano while trying to cross S.E. Foster Road on a November evening in 2009. Though the victims were carrying a flashlight and records showed Feliciano, a manager for a grocery store chain, used his phone several times while driving that night, a civil jury found Leonard 51 percent at fault. But her parents aren’t giving up.

Aimee Green at the Oregonian reports they recently won an appeal that will allow them to sue the city of Portland because the crosswalk where she was killed was faded:

Leonard’s family had contended that it was more difficult to see Leonard — and her roommate, Jessica Finlay, 23, who died weeks later from her injuries — because the women blended into the dark gray asphalt of the road. Leonard’s family contended that if the crosswalk had been maintained, white paint would have provided a contrasting backdrop for the women — who were wearing dark coats and carrying a flashlight.

Leonard’s father, Lane Leonard, appealed the judge’s ruling to dismiss the city as a defendant. Last week, the appeals court agreed with him — finding that a reasonable juror could find that the city contributed to the crash by allowing its crosswalk to fall into disrepair.

Because Lindsay Leonard’s estate will now get a chance to pursue damages against the city, a new trial will be set. As a result, her family again will be allowed to ask a new jury to consider awarding damages against Feliciano and Moran Foods, which operated Save-A-Lot food stores.

By the way, check out the area where Leonard and Finlay were killed. This is the kind of urban design that invites pedestrian fatalities. Could lawsuits like this one at minimum force cities to be more diligent about maintaining pedestrian crossings?

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Political Environment reports the state of Wisconsin is rightfully moving on from the idea of a double-decker freeway for Milwaukee, but its preferred alternative is still awfully pricey and destructive. Streets.mn‘s before and after photos show an increasingly urbanized Minneapolis. And Cyclelicious explains that a bill introduced in Hawaii would exempt cyclists from receiving personal injury protection if they are hit by a motorist.

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