Local News

Durham Woman Takes Injury Claim Against City Back To Court

Posted January 20, 2006

— A Durham woman wants the city to pay for injuries she suffered when hit by a police cruiser. Linda Jones' attorney filed a motion Friday for a new hearing before the state Supreme Court.

Jones was crossing the street when a Durham police cruiser hit her. The injuries from the collision left her permanently disabled. In her first public comments about the case, Jones said she wants the city to pay.

"For them to say they're not going to compensate me, what?" said Jones. "I'm supposed to be in pain the rest of my life. I have scars the rest of my life."

Jones' attorney is once again petitioning the state Supreme Court for a hearing, just one month after the court ruled the officer was not liable. The motion charges the court overlooked evidence and it includes certificates of support from prominent attorneys and judges, including former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry Frye.

For its part, the city contends what happened at the intersection of Liberty and Elizabeth Streets was an accident. Officer Joseph Kelly was on his way to an emergency call, traveling between 40-60 mph, and the city maintains that he did try to avoid Jones.

"It's regrettable what happened out there," said Durham City Manager Patrick Baker.

Baker was the city's attorney when Durham denied Jones' initial claim.

"We just don't feel that his actions rose to the level of culpability for himself or the organization," he said.

"I don't think it's fair," said Jones. "But I can't do anything about it."

For now, Jones can only wait for the court to decide if she'll get a trial by jury. The court has 30 days to review Jones' motion before handing down a ruling. They could follow its earlier ruling in favor of the officer, or grant Jones a jury trial.


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