Family of teen killed while crossing intersection files lawsuit against city of Austin
The family of a teen killed while crossing an intersection in 2016 has filed a lawsuit against the city of Austin.
14 year old Alexei Bauereis was killed on June 7, 2016 while walking his bike across the intersection of Spicewood Springs and Rustic Rock Drive in northwest Austin. The family held a memorial at their home on the anniversary of his death.
On Wednesday, the family filed a lawsuit against the driver in the crash and the city of Austin.
“The Bauereis family does not want any other family to have to go through what they went through,” family attorney Judy Kostura said.
The lawsuit says the driver is liable because he looked at his phone at the time of the crash. It says the city is liable because the intersection had flashing yellow lights.
“Alexei might not have died if they had done it right the first time,” Kostura said.
Flashing yellow lights at intersections was a temporary program designed to keep the traffic moving at night when there are no censors available. When they are on, the crosswalk signals are turned off.
“We know that the city chose to institute a flawed light sequence instead of fixing the censors,” Kostura said.
After the crash Walk Austin called for the city to get rid of the program. The city said in August of 2016, they were phasing out the program completely and hoped to do it by September. On Friday, the city says there are no more flashing yellow light intersections in the city.
A city of Austin spokesperson released this statement: “The City of Austin has not received a lawsuit on this matter at this time, but we are aware of the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. When the City receives the lawsuit, we will take appropriate action to protect the City’s interests based on the allegations in the lawsuit.”
Friday Vision Zero ATX chair Nic Moe said it’s good they got rid of the program, but there’s still more to be done.
“It at least gives people to stop traffic and give themselves a red light which of course is much more responded to by drivers,” Moe said.
Moe also said flashing yellow lights are dangerous for pedestrians.
“It really is something where it is playing frogger, it’s making sure that you are able to visibly see drivers as well as hoping that they can see you and of course that’s not something you can guarantee,” Moe said.
The lawsuit is asking for $1 million. Kostura said they also want the city to follow Vision Zero initiatives.