Posted on Dec 14, 2006
Jury awards cyclist hit by bus 11M
BY JOSE MARTINEZ
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
A Manhattan jury has awarded $11 million to a Bronx bicyclist whose right foot had to be amputated after it was run over by a city bus that kept going until police stopped it.
Following a trial in Manhattan Supreme Court, jurors found that a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus driver should have stopped once he spotted cyclist Angelo Lopez in his rearview mirror staggering because he had ridden into the bus on 125th St. at Seventh Ave.
Lopez, 29, suffered a crushed right foot in the September 2003 accident when he fell under a tire of the 38,000-pound bus - which continued for five blocks until being stopped by police.
"He saw this guy in his mirror wobbling and out of control. Nevertheless, he continued going forward," said attorney David Dean. "The bus driver had an obligation to stop."
Bus driver Luis Jimenez testified that he didn't hit the brakes - even after hearing an "unusual noise" and seeing Lopez wobbling just inches from the bus - because he was concerned about the safety of his passengers and pedestrians.
"I didn't have no knowledge of no accident and no emergency," Jimenez said, according to a transcript of his testimony. "So I didn't have to have no reason to stop."
An attorney for the MTA said the agency will appeal the multimillion-dollar verdict.
"It's totally unjustified," said MTA attorney Wallace Gossett. "We'll be appealing, no question about it."
Lopez, who also separated his right shoulder in the accident, was in a wheelchair for 10 months after losing his foot.
"He's still got phantom pains where he has nothing, where a part of his body used to be," Dean said.