High-ranking county official sues Pima County over bike accident

2014-04-22T18:00:00Z 2014-04-22T19:16:55Z High-ranking county official sues Pima County over bike accidentBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A high-ranking Pima County administrator has filed a lawsuit against the county for injuries he sustained while riding his bicycle last summer.

Martin Willett, the chief deputy county administrator, filed the complaint last month in Pima County Superior Court, according to court records.

Pima County filed an answer to his complaint on April 15, admitting Willett was injured in the county but denying responsibility for the incident.

In January, Willett filed a claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, asking for $6 million to compensate for the injuries he received, as well as the suffering of his wife.

Willett was riding his bike on the Dodge Boulevard Bridge at the Rillito River last June when the front wheels of the bike got stuck in a “drainage gap,” causing him to be thrown from the bike.

Willett, who was wearing a helmet and other safety gear, shattered a number of bones in his back, requiring nine surgeries in six months, according to court documents.

Shortly after the accident, county officials closed the bridge to cyclists and work was performed to make the area safer for those traveling on two wheels.

Willett has returned to work part-time, according to county officials.

The county has hired its own legal counsel, as well as a bicycle safety expert, to assess the case and determine if it wants settle with Willett or go to court, said County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.

The legal counsel and safety expert will present their findings to the Board of Supervisors in an executive session.

Contact reporter Jamar Younger atjyounger@azstarnet.com or 573-4242. On Twitter @JamarYounger

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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