The city will pay $1.8 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a bicyclist who was run over by a city garbage truck driver.
Calvin Dart was riding his bicycle in the bike lane on Glenn Street near Forgeus Avenue on May 12, 2014 — just days before he graduated from the University of Arizona — when a garbage truck driver made a right turn in front of him and crashed into him. He was seriously injured.
Dart, 23, filed a claim for $3.75 million. The City Council agreed Tuesday to settle for $1.8 million with no admission of fault for the crash, said City Attorney Mike Rankin.
The settlement is among the largest ever paid by the city. In 2012 the city paid $2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a teenage boy who was riding his bicycle when a drunk driver drifted into the bike lane and crashed into him. And in 2009 the city paid a $1.75 million settlement to the family of a boy who was electrocuted at Reid Park.
Truck driver Dominic Mejia didn’t see Dart, according to a police report. “He felt the truck jump as if he hit a curb,” the report says. “When he looked back in the passenger mirror he saw a cyclist stuck under or in between the tires.”
Dart told police he saw the garbage truck but the truck driver didn’t use his turn signal until he was already turning. “The vehicle was turning and he was stuck,” the police report says.
A witness told police Dart tried to swerve to avoid the crash but “was hit and run over by the rear passenger side tires.”
Both Rankin and Dart’s attorney, Dev Sethi, characterized the crash as an accident.
“This was a tragic and avoidable collision,” Sethi said in an email statement. “It left my client with permanent injuries that will require a lifetime of expensive medical care. This resolution is fair and will allow him access to the treatment and accommodations he needs. It also takes into account the pain and impact on his life this collision has caused. We hope that out of this, the City refines its approach to sharing the road with bicyclists so that this is the last such settlement.”
Rankin said city drivers know how to share the road and receive regular safety training. The driver involved in the crash still works for the city, but not as a driver, he said.