The City of San Diego reached a $12.5 million settlement with a family that suffered critical injuries, including the loss of their 7-month-old daughter, at a deadly crosswalk in Point Loma.
In March 2015, a driver struck the father while he was pushing his baby girl in a stroller across the street at Catalina Boulevard and Cannon Street. The family's lawyers said the city was partly responsible because the intersection was dangerous and poorly maintained.
The driver who collided with the father and his child immediately pulled over and tried to help save them. Despite his efforts, the daughter later passed away at a nearby hospital.
Her father also suffered a traumatic brain injury in the fatal collision.
Police traffic investigators have determined the driver was not speeding or at fault. Their analysis partially blamed an overgrown palm tree and a city utility box for obstructing his view.
For a long time, neighbors had already complained about the hazardous intersection. They said it was placed in a blind spot for drivers, who quickly careen around the corner at 40 miles per hour.
Merv Avants, a neighbor who lives near the cross walk in Point Loma, told NBC 7 about neighbors expressing concern over the intersection. Some even wrote to City officials, repeatedly demanding action.
“We remember clearly because it was very upsetting—not just to me and my wife—but all of us in this neighborhood. It was a terrible tragedy,” said Avants.
The baby's family sued the City of San Diego for negligence, dangerous condition of public property and a wrongful death.
In total, the family received $18 million including payments from other defendants such as the driver's insurance company. But the bulk of the settlement came from the city.
"You really cannot put a value on the loss of life--you cannot--but in terms of how our legal system works in America, then I think that was probably an appropriate response," added Avants.
Shortly after the crash, the city installed a crossing signal and light at the cross walk to make the street safer for pedestrians.
Despite the improvements, some neighbors complained the cross walk is still too dangerous. Their suggestions include lowering the speed limit, upping enforcement and installing a rotary to slow drivers down.