Phoenix Approves $100,000 Settlement After Kids Hit by Car While Trick-or-Treating

Trying to get around Phoenix on foot can be terrifying. No one knows this better than Josline Payan and Teresa Hernandez.

On Halloween night in 2014, the two moms took their kids trick-or-treating in the Alhambra neighborhood. They were crossing West Bethany Home Road at the intersection with 41st Avenue when a Toyota Camry came out of nowhere and plowed into them.

Hernandez's daughter, who was 10 at the time, was hit directly by the car. "She was eventually located a distance away on the pavement, where her body had been thrown, unconscious and bleeding from both the front and back of her head," court documents say.

Payan's son, who was 2, flew out of his mother's arms when the car struck the group and landed on the pavement. He was taken to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where he was treated for multiple facial lacerations and abrasions.

Both children were reported to be in critical condition immediately following the incident. So were Jasmine Hernandez, an adult relative, and her boyfriend, who had been pushing her wheelchair.

Fortunately, there were no fatalities. But last year, Hernandez and Payan sued the city of Phoenix for negligence, arguing that the city had failed to provide a safe place to cross the street. This afternoon, the city council approved a total of $100,000 in settlement payments for the case.

Nathaniel Preston, the attorney representing the children and their parents, said that he was unable to comment on the agreement.

The lawsuit points out that the driver, a 75-year-old man, had been traveling at an estimated 38 miles per hour, which is below the 40 mile per hour speed limit in that area. He had been unable to see the group crossing the street because the crosswalk wasn't adequately lighted, and there had been no warning signs to let him know that he was coming up to a place where people might be crossing the road, the complaint says.

As a result, the children "suffered serious bodily injuries and have since undergone extensive medical treatment."

So what does that intersection look like today, three years after the accident?

Exactly the same.

"The city has not made any changes to the intersection in question, because the city conducted a study and determined that the intersection is infrequently used as a pedestrian crossing," says Monica Hernandez, a spokesperson for the street transportation department.

Because, you know, paying $100,000 to settle a lawsuit is so much cheaper than adding a couple of lights and signs.
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Antonia Noori Farzan is a staff writer at New Times and an honors graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Before moving to Arizona, she worked for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach.