Family members sue over pedestrian death
November 1, 2012
The family of a woman who was struck by a vehicle and killed while crossing Shell Beach Road have filed a lawsuit against the city of Pismo Beach and the Cliffs Resort claiming her death could have been prevented if a crosswalk and proper signage were in place. [SLONewTimes]
On Nov. 19, 2011, Tracia Rittger was crossing westbound on Shell Beach Road near the Cliff’s Resort when she was struck by a car and killed. The driver is alleged to have been speeding. He claimed he failed to see Rittger crossing the road.
In the area of Shell Beach Road where the accident occurred, there are three parking lots on the west side of the road. The lots are primarily used by people headed to the beach or local restaurants. None have crosswalks.
Tricia Rittger’s husband Aaron Rittger says in his complaint that both the Cliffs and the city of Pismo Beach had ample warning that the crossing was dangerous. In 2010, Pismo Beach Planning Commissioner Mark Burnes said he was concerned that the road was dangerous and that a lighted crosswalk was needed.
“Ever since Tricia’s death, I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’ve had similar close calls crossing that same street and how dangerous it is,” Aaron Rittger said in a press release. “We want the Cliffs to fix the problem and make it safe so nobody else gets hurt or loses a loved one.”
Pismo Beach City Attorney David Fleishman expressed his sympathy for the family, but does not agree that the city is responsible for the accident.
“I think it’s a tragedy what happened,” Pismo Beach City Attorney David Fleishman told the New Times. “But I don’t think the city of Pismo Beach is liable at all.”
Aaron Rittger is seeking reimbursement of funeral costs, loss of his wife’s income, court costs and general damages.