Town, Police Sued for SUV vs. Cyclist Collision


A New Canaan man has sued the town in connection with a motor vehicle collision from two summers ago.

According to a complaint filed May 23 in state Superior Court, plaintiff Steven Whitaker had been riding a bicycle on South Avenue at about 9 p.m. on June 27, 2022 (a Monday) when he was struck by a police vehicle exiting the department’s lot.

“The collision was caused by the negligence and carelessness of the defendant,” attorney Jeffrey D. Lynch of Woodbridge-based Perkins and Associates said in the complaint. 

The officer “failed to grant the right of way” or “keep his vehicle under proper and reasonable control,” the complaint said. 

The suit names a police officer and the town as defendants.

Whitaker sustained “closed head,” hip and “cervical spine” injuries, as well as a “left hip labral tear” and emotional distress, the complaint said.

The officer “failed to keep a proper and reasonable lookout for other bicyclists,” “failed to apply his brakes in time to avoid the collision,” “failed to turn his vehicle so as to avoid the collision,” “failed to sound his horn or flash his lights to warn of the impending collision” and violated state driving laws by failing to grant the right-of-way, the complaint said. 

“As a result of these injuries, the plaintiff has experienced, and may experience in the future, pain and suffering,” it said. He also lost income, continues to incur medical expenses and his ability to “pursue and enjoy life’s leisure activities has been reduced,” Lynch wrote in the complaint. He is seeking monetary relief in excess of $15,000, the complaint said.

The town, represented by Berchem Moses PC, has not yet answered the complaint. A crash report that accompanies the filing includes a report from responding officers. In it, police say the unmarked Chevy Tahoe struck the 70-year-old cyclist, who received medical care on scene. The vehicle came to rest with the bicycle “stuck under the front end,” it said. The cyclist was transported to Norwalk Hospital. In an interview, the officer involved in the collision said he was heading out to an extra-duty detail “when he struck an unknown object.” 

“He stated that he didn’t know what he hit initially, and just heard metal scratching the road,” the crash report said. “He stated he then backed up slightly, and observed [the cyclist]” and radioed in for assistance.

The officer “stated that he looked both ways before entering the road way, and he did not see [the cyclist].”

The lawsuit is on the short calendar for July 8, according to Connecticut Judicial Branch records.

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