Tourist Struck and Killed by Hydra-Terra Seal Bus
On March 18, 2010, a 29-year-old woman who was visiting San Diego with her family was struck by an amphibious tour bus while crossing Pacific Highway at the intersection with West Harbor Drive. The woman, a registered nurse from Arizona, was shopping in Seaport Village while her parents went on a harbor cruise. As she attempted to cross the street to meet up with her parents afterward, she was struck and dragged by a Seal Tour Hydra-Terra making a right turn onto Pacific Highway from West Harbor Drive. The accident happened across from the Embassy Suites hotel in front of multiple witnesses.
The first person to assist the victim was also a registered nurse, who heard the screams and ran over to offer comfort and keep the victim conscious until an ambulance arrived. The victim had suffered a shattered collarbone, rib fractures, spine fractures, and other trauma. She was transported to UCSD Hospital, but passed away from her injuries a few hours later. Her parents, not knowing what had happened, attempted to file a missing person report with the SDPD, but officers recalled the name and informed them of their daughter’s passing. Jurewitz Law Group filed a wrongful death claim on behalf of the woman’s parents.
The defense contended that the victim was negligent in crossing the intersection illegally. At the intersection where the victim was trying to cross, there was a sign instructing pedestrians not to cross the intersection at that location. However, we were able to prove that her crossing was not unreasonable, as pedestrians cross that section multiple times a day and that street signs banning crossing are not visible from all vantage points. None of the witnesses who were later deposed, especially the ones from out of town, knew that crossing the street at that location was illegal, and had seen many other people do it the same day.
In addition, we were able to present evidence that another pedestrian had been hit by the same tour bus at the same intersection in September 2009, leading the company to change its route, instructing drivers to avoid that intersection and no longer take the right turn. This 11-ton Seal Tour bus didn’t follow this new practice, and didn’t even see the victim until bystanders flagged it down after the collision. The Ford Hydra-Terra amphibious vehicle was operated by Old Town Trolley Tours. The case settled shortly after mediation and before trial.
Initial offer from defendant: $0 ($250,000 at mediation)
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