The parents of a freckle-faced 13-year-old girl killed by a Metro bus while riding her bicycle in Redondo Beach were awarded $32.1 million.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for about a day before finding in favor on Wednesday of Barry and Rose Smith of Redondo Beach, whose daughter, Ciara, was struck by the bus about 5:30 p.m. May 5, 2017, in the area of Pacific Coast Highway and Knob Hill Avenue.
Caltrans and the city of Redondo Beach each settled with the Smiths before trial for $4.9 million and the balance of the verdict is the obligation of MV Transportation Inc., the owner and operator of the bus under contract with Metro and the lone remaining defendant when jury deliberations began, according to plaintiffs’ attorney Garo Mardirossian.
Ciara, a student at Parras Middle School in Redondo Beach, was riding her bicycle alongside a friend when she traveled into the roadway on Pacific Coast Highway and was struck by the bus, Redondo Beach Police Department Lt. Shawn Freeman said previously. Ciara’s friend was not hurt.
The suit filed in October 2017 also alleged that the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Knob Hill Avenue was designed in a way that made it dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The problems included faded painting on crosswalks, the dimensions of the ramps leading from sidewalks to the roadway and a lack of bicycle-only lanes, according to the suit, which said the allegedly dangerous conditions had existed for so long that Caltrans officials knew or should have known about them.
The Smiths maintained that MV Transportation did not adequately train the driver to drive a large bus, but lawyers for MV Transportation stated in their court papers that the driver was driving under the speed limit as she approached the intersection in the southbound slow lane.
There were vehicles in the fast lane to the bus driver’s left, so a sudden evasive move there would have unsafe, according to the defense attorneys’ court papers.