Driver hit cruiser at busy intersection
LAFAYETTE — Lafayette city-parish government has paid $225,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who was injured when she broad-sided a police cruiser that was going through a red light while responding to another traffic accident.
City-parish government released documents this week detailing the out-of-court settlement in the case, which arose out of a February 2008 accident at the busy intersection of Congress Street and Cajundome Boulevard on a rainy Friday afternoon.
Officer Larry Theriot II had his lights and sirens on, but Melissa B. Dugas had alleged in the lawsuit that Theriot, who had the red light, did not pay enough attention to cross-street traffic before passing through the intersection and being struck by Dugas.
Dugas, who suffered neck injuries, had said she did not see the police cruiser’s emergency lights or hear the siren and did not notice that other vehicles had already stopped.
Theriot had said he came to a complete stop and looked both ways several times when moving through the intersection, but there were questions as to whether he stopped again for traffic while moving through the large intersection, according to statements in the court record.
City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley declined comment.
The case is one of three settlements north of $200,000 paid by city-parish government this year.
In March, Lafayette paid $500,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who was paralyzed after being struck in a traffic accident blamed on restaurant grease that flowed out of a city manhole.
Louis Robinson Jr. had been riding his bicycle along Evangeline Thruway in 2006 when a pickup truck turning from Pinhook Road lost control, flipped several times and struck Robinson, who is now a quadriplegic.
Robinson’s attorneys argued that city-parish government was negligent for not maintaining a functioning sewer system and that city-parish workers were aware of grease clogs in the sewer line allegedly linked to a defective grease trap at a nearby restaurant.
In February, a judge signed off on a $3.4 million settlement to be paid by city-parish government over the City-Parish Council’s decision in 2011 to block a planned garbage transfer station on Sunbeam Lane in north Lafayette.
Developer Waste Facilities of Lafayette had already purchased the property, obtained permits and started construction at the site when the council shut down the project at the behest of residents complaining of potential odors and noise.
Waste Facilities countered with a lawsuit to recover money already tied up in the project and for future losses.