Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Bellevue to pay $750,000 to woman hit by city vehicle

by March 6th, 2013

The Bellevue City Council Monday approved a settlement for $750,000 with a pedestrian who two years ago was struck and badly injured by a city vehicle driven by a parks department employee. The victim was Evelyn Rissman of Lynnwood, now 58, a certified pediatric nurse who works for Group Health in Bellevue. The driver, who later retired and is now deceased, was William Richard Sackville, a facilities operations specialist for the city parks department. The most recent public records available online show that in 2007 he earned $81,726 for the city, plus another $5,588 in overtime.

According to Assistant City Attorney Cheryl Zakrzewski, in early January 2011 Sackville was turning left, or southbound onto 112th Ave. from Northeast 10th Street and did not see Rissman, whom he struck with his city vehicle as she was crossing 112th in a marked crosswalk.

Rissman suffered a punctured lung, cracked ribs and bruises and had one knee shattered, for which she has had two surgeries including a total knee replacement, with another one to be needed in 15 to 20 years, said Zakrzewski. She had already been paid $20,973 by the city for lost wages in 2011 resulting from the accident.

In late 2011, she filed suit in King County Superior Court against the city and Sackville and a female defendant named only as Jane Doe Sackville, for personal injuries and “general and special damages,” according to the settlement. The Sackvilles were dismissed as defendants by mutual agreement of both sides last August.

Negotiations continued and resulted in the $750,000 settlement. It stipulates that another $729,027 be paid to Rissman in trust via her attorney Robert Blazak. As part of the settlement, no further claims can be advanced against the city or Sackville’s estate by Rissman. Any further medical expenses related to the accident will be her responsibility. The settlement will be paid from the city’s self-insurance fund.

Asked what caused the accident to occur, Zakrzewski said Sackville “just didn’t see” Rissman. He underwent special testing and training afterward with a police officer from another jurisdiction, and passed, she added. Some time afterward, he retired and later passed away, Zakrezewski said.

Also at its Monday night meeting the city council approved another negligence claim settlement, of $65,820.32 to Jose Perez and Flory Ambrocio of the 15400 block of Southeast 11th Street. That stemmed from damage to their property after excavations by city crews who were installing new drains to better control surface water runoff. The work caused a water main to rupture. The settlement was also covered by the city’s self-insurance fund.

At the Monday night council meeting both items were part of the so-called “Consent Agenda” including numerous other approvals, and were okayed by the City Council without discussion.

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