Bicyclist crossed on red light, witnesses say

Monday, October 27, 2008 | 7:02 p.m. CDT; updated 8:47 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 27, 2008

COLUMBIA — A bicyclist involved in a 2005 accident didn't look both ways at the intersection of College and Rollins avenues before crossing on a red light, according to the depositions of two witnesses read in court Monday as the defense presented its case.

"She looked left really quick and then went through the intersection," Christy Deviney said in her deposition, which was read on the stand by a lawyer for the city of Columbia.

Deviney and Katie Long, then MU students, were stopped in a car waiting to turn left from East Rollins Avenue onto North College Avenue when they saw the Aug. 18 accident that left Krysten Chambrot severely injured.

Chambrot's personal injury lawsuit names, among others, the City of Columbia and the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission as defendants. Chambrot is an MU graduate student and an employee of the Missourian.

Chambrot, then 19 and an undergraduate student at MU, was riding her bicycle east on Rollins crossing College when she was first hit by a car driven by Judy Pope. Chambrot was then thrown from her bicycle. She was then hit and dragged by a Columbia Water and Light truck driven by Michael Arens. Both Pope and Arens are defendants in the case.

According to Long, a passenger in Deviney's vehicle, they were in the first car in the turn lane and were stopped at the red light "for a significant amount" of time before the accident occurred.

Both of the witnesses' depositions assert that Chambrot was riding against the light. Chambrot's attorney, Donald Schlapprizzi, speaking hypothetically during jury selection, asked potential jurors if they could still find in Chambrot's favor if she is found to have been partly responsible for what happened to her.

The truck driver, Arens, 29, also testified Monday that Chambrot crossed against the light.

The Columbia Water and Light employee told the jury that the northbound traffic signal on College Avenue was green, and that when he entered the intersection, the utility truck he was driving struck a bicycle.

"I remember the bike was like almost coming up at me and I broke pretty hard," Arens said.

Arens also said that he was driving under the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour.

"I recall cars passing us when we turned onto College," said Brett Helms, another Columbia Water and Light employee who was a passenger in Arens' truck.

In testimony earlier in the trial, the plaintiff's side has focused on the intersection's lack of an "all-red clearance" policy, which allows extra time for crossing. But a project manager from MoDOT called by the defense Monday said that in her observation, an "all-red clearance" was not necessary at the intersection.

"I didn't consider an all-red at all," said Nicole Hood, who had programmed the traffic signals in January 2005.

Closing statements are expected to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday.


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Mary Anderson October 28, 2008 | 8:25 a.m.

Nice try Missourian! You are getting better about reporting the truth in this case, but still twist the truth and play with words! This is how your story should have been wrote!

Chambrot, then 19 and an undergraduate student at MU, was riding her bicycle east on Rollins crossing College and (RAN A RED LIGHT)when she was first hit by a car driven by Judy Pope.

I will never look to the Missourian for the truth in our local news EVER again!

You or not the Columbia Floridian!!!!!!!!!!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 28, 2008 | 8:50 a.m.

The Missourian can say Chambrot ran a red light when the facts of the case have been decided by the jury.

How about you disclose your involvement in this case since you seem pretty upset by it?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 28, 2008 | 9:01 a.m.

Mary Anderson even the Tribune is wrong on stories lots of times or forgets facts and more. You really need a clue and please put down the caffeine.

(Report Comment)
Danielle Lacey October 28, 2008 | 11:10 a.m.

I'm all for sharing the roads with bicyclists, but this is exactly why doing so makes me nervous. Bikers are supposed to follow the same laws as drivers, yet most do not. If this woman had been driving a car and ran a red light, she'd have no case.

(Report Comment)
Andrew Rea October 28, 2008 | 11:34 a.m.

I would like to see a story on how drivers universally seem to hate bicyclists. They want bicyclists to follow the rules of the road, but never yield to anybody on two wheels because they're in a car. I ride my bike everywhere in Columbia, and even in our "cycling town" drivers don't seem to realize that we share the road, rather than impose upon it. That being said, apparently this bicyclist ran a red light.

(Report Comment)
Emily Sussman October 28, 2008 | 2:08 p.m.

Mary Anderson, if you think the Tribune is blameless by contrast, you're completely delusional.

Okay, that said, this tragic accident has morphed into prime evidence of why this country so badly needs tort reform.

(Report Comment)
Mary Anderson October 30, 2008 | 11:23 a.m.

"Chambrot is an MU graduate student and an employee of the Missourian."


No one involved in this case works for the Tribune? That I know of?

Emily Sussman if I am "completely delusional" then you have not read both papers articles covering this case! Yet you maybe right as for the Tribune in other cases, more so if they have some interests in the story. I believe I have already responded to this in one of the other articles.

(Report Comment)

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