San Diego

Widow whose husband was hit and killed by a car files legal claim against San Diego for failing to act on dangerous crosswalk

Public paperwork present town was conscious that pedestrians had been in danger on Torrey Pines Road years earlier than Howard Wilson was killed.

SAN DIEGO — Residents and employees on the La Jolla Nursing and Rehabilitation Center warned town that the crosswalk at 2550 Torrey Pines Road was poorly lit, with poor visibility, and a high-number of dashing automobiles.

In June 2020 the La Jolla Transportation Board cautioned town that ignoring the risks and failing to set up a higher lit crosswalk may “expose the City to liability in the event of a future pedestrian accident.”

That accident occurred this previous Valentine’s Day, on February 14, 2022, when Howard Wilson was struck and killed whereas returning to his car after visiting his spouse, Shirley, on the La Jolla Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

“He came to see me. We had a good visit together. he was everything to me.” stated Wilson. “Howard brought me a stuffed monkey and some candy. I was going home the next day. I haven’t been right since.”

On June 30, Wilson filed a legal claim against town, step one towards submitting a lawsuit, alleging that town failed to handle the dangerous crosswalk and stripped Wilson of her husband of 16 years, and her sole caregiver who helped Shirley by way of her cognitive and bodily disabilities.

“The hardest thing that I ever faced in my life was dealing with the fact that I’m never going to see him again. At least not in this life I won’t,” stated Wilson.

Asked whether or not or not it upset her to discover out town was conscious of the dangerous crosswalk, Wilson responded, “I am very mad because they knew what they did was wrong.”

The metropolis is put on discover

In an effort to handle pedestrian security exterior of the La Jolla Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, town put in a pedestrian-activated crosswalk in 2018. 

However, the crosswalk, in accordance to Wilson’s legal claim, was “insufficiently” lit and the crosswalk lights failed to alert drivers of pedestrians crossing the road.

Those points had been outlined throughout a June 17, 2020 meeting, when members of the  La Jolla Traffic and Transportation Board cautioned town in regards to the risks of the crosswalk at 2550 Torrey Pines Road and urged metropolis officers to set up a simpler pedestrian crosswalk.

“The City has received a significant amount of complaints,” reads an excerpt from the committee’s meeting. “There is a high demand for parking on both sides of the road which requires pedestrians to cross the street throughout the day. The nearest signalized crossings are several hundred feet away in both directions. We have received a significant number of complaints/concerns from citizens over the past years regarding the safety of crossing the street in this vicinity.”

Looking to enhance security the committee advised putting a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon which options lights above the highway that flash and direct drivers to cease on the crosswalk.

The February 14 collision that killed Howard Wilson

On Valentine’s Day 2022, Howard Wilson introduced a bouquet of flowers and a massive stuffed animal to his spouse Shirley. Shirley Wilson was on the facility rehabbing after she was injured after a fall on the couple’s Oceanside dwelling. 

After his go to, simply after 6 pm, Howard Wilson was crossing the road to get to his car when, in accordance to an article in the La Jolla Light, a driver struck and killed 70-year-old Wilson.

Wilson’s dying was a blow to Shirley in addition to their prolonged household and his longtime co-workers at Vista High, the place he labored as a janitor for over 30-years.

“They had a lovely home together in Oceanside,” stated Shirley Wilson’s brother-in-law, David Nelson. “We visited and they’d come down to our house for Christmas dinners and Easter and other holiday dinners and birthdays. They had a great relationship. And then when we got the call the next day from the police, it was just unbelievable, a shock. We weren’t, we couldn’t believe what we were hearing.”

The day after Howard Wilson’s dying, David Nelson and his spouse Patricia, stated employees at La Jolla Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had complained in regards to the dangerous situations for years and oftentimes warned sufferers and their relations in regards to the crosswalk.

“It’s disturbing to know that the city knew about this condition, that they had been warned. Here was a situation that could have been fixed, and could have prevented Howard from being killed,” stated Shirley Wilson’s sister, Patricia Nelson.

Councilmember Joe LaCava Urges City to Install New Crosswalk

Ten days after Howard Wilson’s dying, metropolis councilmember Joe LaCava despatched a memo to San Diego’s Director of Transportation, Jorge Riveros, asking for town to set up a collection of pedestrian enhancements on the location.

In the memo, which CBS 8 obtained by way of a public information request, LaCava requested for new streetlights, extra warning indicators, and high-intensity beacon crosswalk.

“Currently, a pedestrian can only activate one set of the flashing signs from the curb and must activate the other side upon reaching the pedestrian refuge in the median,” learn LaCava’s memo.

The City’s Transportation Director Riveros, responded to LaCava’s memo almost two months later.

In it, Riveros wrote that town deliberate to improve the crosswalk and set up new lighting however couldn’t get to it till July 2023. Riveros additionally stated the warning indicators and avenue markings on the location had been satisfactory and wouldn’t change.

In regards to the problems with the push button solely lighting one facet of the crosswalk at a time, Riveros said that metropolis technicians “corrected an operational problem” with them and at the moment are working correctly.

Attorney Cynthia Chihak represents Shirley Wilson in her legal motion against town. Chihak stated town ignored quite a few warnings and now her shopper is left with out her husband and with out anybody to care for her. 

“I have never seen such a blatant abuse of the system,” stated Chihak. “There has been notice that this wasn’t working and dangerous since 2018 when they put this crosswalk in. The complaints came in immediately. Some of them said the crosswalk gave pedestrians a false sense of security and that cars weren’t stopping. Pedestrians, like Mr. Wilson, thought they were safe and they weren’t.”

CBS 8 has reached out to Mayor Todd Gloria’s Office in addition to Councilmember Joe LaCava’s Office.

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