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Student sues after being hit on bike

Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:49 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

An MU journalism student who was seriously injured after being struck by a car and dragged under a Columbia utility truck has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city of Columbia, a state agency and both the driver of the car and the truck.

Krysten Chambrot, from Miramar, Fla., was riding her bicycle through the intersection of College and Rollins avenues on Aug. 18 when she was struck by a Mazda Miata driven by Judy Pope, 55, of Columbia. Chambrot was then was struck and dragged several feet by a Columbia Water and Light truck driven by Michael Arens.

“I don’t really remember much (about the accident),” said Chambrot, who is continuing to work toward her bachelor’s degree in journalism at MU and was expected to return to work in the newsroom of the Missourian next week.

Chambrot filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, Arens and Pope for $25,000 each, plus legal expenses, on Aug. 26 in Boone County Circuit Court.

As a result of the accident, Chambrot’s left leg was amputated above the knee, her right leg was badly damaged, and her jaw was fractured.

In the lawsuit, Chambrot claims that Arens and Pope failed to keep a careful lookout.

Jeffrey Parshall, the attorney representing the city of Columbia and Arens, said Chambrot crossed the street against a red light. “The city vehicle was proceeding through a green light,” he said.

Pope, whose last known telephone number is disconnected, could not be reached for comment. Court records indicate that she has pleaded guilty to three speeding tickets in Missouri since March 2001.

Arens also could not be reached for comment.

The suit also claims that the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, a six-member board that guides the Missouri Department of Transportation, was negligent in maintaining and controlling the traffic signal at the College and Rollins avenues. Neither the commission or its attorney, Zachary Cartwright Jr., could be reached for comment.

Donald Schlapprizzi, Chambrot’s attorney, said the specifics of the traffic signal’s defect were still under investigation.

“The preliminary investigation implicates the city because of the truck involved,” Schlapprizzi said. “There was also a question regarding any responsibility it has for the electric signal.”

Matt Myers, district traffic engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation in Columbia, said that the Transportation Department maintains and controls the signal at College Avenue and Rollins Avenue. Myers said the department has not received any complaints about that signal and has not worked on it in the past six months.


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