$10 Million Lawsuit Filed Against the City

Virginia Ortega's family says the intersection where she died is dangerous

The family of a woman who was killed by a tourist seal boat in San Diego says the intersection where it happened is so dangerous; they’re suing the city.

What started as a relaxing family vacation for Virginia Ortega and her family turned to tragedy. The 29 year-old from Glendale, Ariz. was killed at the intersection of Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway last March when a Seal Tour Bus struck her as she crossed illegally.

Now her parents are filing a $10 million claim against the city.

“For a wrongful death claim, $10 million is a conservative estimate for the value of a human life,” said Attorney Ross Jurewitz.

In the claim, the family's lawyer contends Ortega likely did not see the no-crossing sign because it’s small and off to the side. Jurewitz says this is the second time a pedestrian has been hit by a Seal Tour Bus at that intersection in six months.

Within 10 minutes, our camera caught three pedestrians and a bicyclist crossing there illegally.

“The history at that intersection is a key component of the claim. If this was only the first incident at the intersection we may not be bringing a claim against the city at this point,” Jurewitz said.

NBC San Diego contacted Old Town Trolley Tours, which owns and operates San Diego Seal Tours. They declined to comment; saying only that the investigation is on going.

“They can’t get their daughter back, all they can do is ask for money hopefully that gets the city's attention,” Jurewitz said.

The city has 45 days to review the claim and accept or deny it. A spokesperson from the city attorney's office did not want to comment, saying they had not yet seen the complaint.

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