A woman who was among nine pedestrians injured when a pickup truck veered onto a Fullerton sidewalk after colliding with two cars operated by Lyft drivers filed a lawsuit Wednesday naming the motorist who was behind the wheel, along with the ridehailing company and two of its drivers.
Sara Polanco alleges negligence in her complaint stemming from the Feb. 10 collision that resulted in criminal charges against Christopher Jose Solis, who was allegedly under the influence of marijuana when he drove his Toyota Tacoma onto a sidewalk in the 100 block of West Santa Fe Avenue.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has charged Solis with one felony count each of driving under the influence of drugs causing injury and hit-and-run with injury, as well as a misdemeanor count of hit-and-run with property damage. He also faces sentencing enhancement allegations of causing bodily injury to 11 victims and for causing great bodily injury to six victims.
Lyft officials declined comment on the lawsuit, which names Lyft drivers Hector Manuel Quioz and Joseph Lorenzo Williamson as well as Solis as defendants.
Polanco was hospitalized in critical condition following the collision, her attorney Eric Dubin said. She suffered a shattered pelvis and a lacerated liver, and was released a few weeks ago to continue her recovery at home, Dubin said, adding that she still depends on a wheelchair. Her medical bills have amounted to nearly $1 million, he said.
Solis was pulled over by a California Highway Patrol officer about an hour prior to the collision and was let go, according to Dubin, who said Solis has claimed he was under attack that day by people trying to steal his laptop computer and was fleeing from them in his pickup.
During his flight, Solis crashed into a double-parked Lyft vehicle that was picking up passengers while the driver was looking up directions on a cell phone, Dubin alleged. Solis then was allegedly involved in a collision with a second Lyft vehicle in the area, which was teeming with people exiting bars that had just closed, according to the attorney.
Dubin alleged that Lyft driver suddenly stopped to pick up passengers and rear-ended Solis. “That’s what put (Solis) on the sidewalk, striking the nine pedestrians, including my client,” Dubin said.
“We believe that Lyft encourages, if not trains their drivers, to focus on Lyft business, which is picking up passengers,” Dubin said. “There’s no designated areas for pickups and it seems to me that it’s a pretty widespread situation of Lyft and Uber cars that really do not follow the rules of the road and either are distracted because they’re looking at their phones for directions or double parking illegally, parking illegally, stopping suddenly, or making u-turns.”
If the Lyft drivers that day had “obeyed the law and went with the flow, this wouldn’t have happened,” Dubin alleged. “Mr. Solis would have been able to drive away without a problem.”
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