Family files wrongful death suit after woman killed in SE Austin crosswalk
A man is suing the City of Austin after his wife was hit by a car and killed earlier this month. It happened at a crosswalk on East Slaughter Lane right in front of IDEA Bluff Springs public school on September 1.
Moises Maradiaga said his wife, Rosemary, was crossing Slaughter Lane to get back to the school where she worked as a receptionist.
Maradiaga and his attorney Brad Bonilla claim the City of Austin is at fault because it failed to activate the pedestrian crosswalk signals at the intersection
"They didn't have the benefit of these big flashing red lights saying 'you have to stop,'" Bonilla said.
Moises said he got a phone call that Friday morning on his way to work. He rushed to the hospital where his wife of 13 years was fighting for her life.
"The doctors came and told me they were trying to keep her alive, but the second time they came they told me they couldn't anymore," Maradiaga said.
Bonilla said the school opened in 2016 and the crosswalk lights were put up soon after, but the power was never turned on.
"All they had to do was go out there and flip a switch and the crosswalk would have been activated" Bonilla said.
According to family members, when Rosemary began walking back toward the school after taking her daughter to the bus stop, a car pulled into the intersection but stopped after seeing her.
The stopped car then obstructed the view of other drivers traveling in the same direction.
"As she steps out from behind the vehicle that's stopped she gets hit by a Prius because the Prius driver had very little warning a pedestrian was walking across the street," Bonilla said.
Bonilla said that's because the flashing lights weren't there to warn drivers of a pedestrian crossing.
The same narrative is echoed in the crash report taken by the Department of Public Safety.
The crash report said, "The crosswalk had a dedicated red light traffic signal for the pedestrian crosswalk only, but it was not operational at that time."
But, Bonilla said shortly after Maradiaga was killed, the problem was fixed.
"Unfortunately it took a horrific tragedy to make that happen," Bonilla said.
CBS Austin contacted the city of Austin for comment on this lawsuit. A spokesperson sent this statement:
“We have not yet been served with the lawsuit but are very familiar with the tragic incident that occurred earlier this month. We are prepared to defend the City in the lawsuit that is also brought against the driver involved in the accident at a location where Travis County has reduced the speed limit by a school zone sign and there is a crosswalk.”