SANDPOINT - The family of a Sandpoint pedestrian struck and killed in a Fifth Avenue crosswalk last year is seeking $250,000 in damages from the city, the state and Bonner County.
Counsel for the heirs of Anthony James Joerger contend a poorly illuminated intersection was a direct and proximate cause of his death on Nov. 19, 2009.
Coeur d'Alene attorney Richard Kuck filed the tort claim, which serves as a notice of intent to sue, on May 15.
Mayor Gretchen Hellar said the claim is being forwarded to the citys insurer. The county and the state declined to comment, as did Kuck.
Damages can either be awarded or denied, which would enable the claimants to pursue damages through a civil suit in 1st District Court.
Joerger, 46, died of head and neck injuries after being struck by a pickup truck at Fifth and Cedar Street during the evening rush hour. He was crossing Fifth with the pedestrian signal in his favor when he was struck by a motorist who was on Cedar and turning south onto Fifth, according to Idaho State Police.
Mark Harley McElroy was turning left against a red light, but such a maneuver was permissible at the time. The city and state later agreed to prohibit left turns against the light for westbound traffic on Cedar.
Joerger was a member of the city's Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the City Council on ways to improve pedestrian safety.
The Bonner County Prosecutors Office declined to pursue criminal charges against McElroy, a 49-year-old from Athol. Although state police concluded McElroys inattention was a contributing factor in the collision, the degree of inattention did not rise to a criminal level because of other factors, including the dimly lit intersection and Joergers dark clothing, Prosecutor Louis Marshall has said.
McElroy is identified as a witness in the tort claim.
A state police report indicated three of the four streetlights overlooking the intersection were not working properly. City officials have said the streetlights are its jurisdiction, while the traffic signals are ITD's.
Kuck said in the claim that each of the governmental entities have jurisdiction or concurrent jurisdiction over the installation and maintenance of the streetlights.
In addition to the damages for wrongful death, the claim seeks $10,500 for Joerger's final medical bills and funeral expenses.