Intersection of La Jolla Boulevard and Westbourne Street
A New Jersey man on vacation in San Diego who was hit by a truck while using a crosswalk in La Jolla is suing the City of San Diego.
Attorneys for Santo Bencivenni, 72, filed a lawsuit in state court on January 13 seeking damages for the February 11, 2016, incident.
On that day, Bencivenni was crossing the street at a lighted crosswalk at the intersection of La Jolla Boulevard and Westbourne Street. At the time of the lawsuit, unbeknownst to Bencivenni, the crosswalk lights were not functioning. While crossing the street, a truck traveling southbound on La Jolla Boulevard struck Bencivenni, severely injuring him. The crosswalk, according to an article in the La Jolla Light, had been a concern of residents for some time. During one public meeting a resident called the intersection a “horror story."
According to a post on crowd-funding website gofundme.com, Bencivenni suffered a broken pelvis, femur, ten broken ribs, as well as a mild brain injury. As a result of his injuries and treatment, doctors amputated eight of his fingers as well as both feet.
Bencivenni submitted a claim, with damages estimated at $25 million, to San Diego's Risk Management Department in August 2016. The claim was denied shortly after, resulting in the new lawsuit.
"[The] City of San Diego knew, or should have known, that pedestrians crossing in that crosswalk were in danger of cross traffic from drivers traveling along La Jolla Boulevard at the intersection, who if not appropriately warned of pedestrians, would be hindered in their ability to stop, thereby causing a dangerous condition on public property," reads the lawsuit.
Bencivenni's complaint is currently the second lawsuit filed by a tourist who was struck while crossing a San Diego intersection. In March 2015, a family was crossing a street in Point Loma when a vehicle struck and killed their seven-month-old daughter and severely injuring the father, John Aavang. Aavang is now suing the City of San Diego, the driver, as well as a nearby homeowners' association for failing to maintain surrounding trees. According to public records obtained by the Reader, residents had complained of the dangerous intersection to the city and then-councilmember Kevin Faulconer years before the accident occurred. A trial is scheduled for March 2017.