NOVATO (KCBS)—The family of the Hailey Ratliff, the 12 year-old girl who was killed in September crash while riding her bike, has filed a claim against the city of Novato, alleging dangerous roadway conditions. They also disagree with police report clearing the driver of the SUV involved in the crash.
KCBS’ Holly Quan:
Ratliff’s family said that it wasn’t Hailey’s fault that she road her bike into lanes of traffic when she was struck and killed by an SUV. They said there’s no appropriately placed cross-walk and that traffic is allowed to travel too fast for a road that connects rural areas to those that are more populated.
Through their attorney, Paul Mastiasic of Matiasic, Roth & Johnson, they filed a claim against the city which is a precursor to filing a lawsuit.
“The City of Novato abdicated its responsibility to trim back the vegetation there–the trees and shrubbery on its property – and that overgrown vegetation also obscured some of the signage in the area, including a pedestrian crossing sign and speed limit sign very close to the accident site,” Matiasic said.
Hailey, a seventh grader from Sinaloa Middle School, was riding her bike home from school when she was struck and killed by SUV driven by Samuel Lee Boulware, Jr., of Texas, on Sept. 27.
According to Mastiac, the Ratliff family has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Boulware and his employers, Tate Communications and PG&E, where he worked as a contract employee at the time of the accident.
“We believe it was the speed and the inattention of the driver and the dangerous components of that roadway—both which were substantial factors in causing this accident,” he said.
Officials from the City of Novato were unable to respond to the claim due to the pending litigation, but last week the police released their report of the investigation that concluded Ratliff entered the roadway without yielding the right of way to an approaching vehicle.
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