Lynn Bainbridge’s civil lawsuit against the pizza delivery driver who ran over him on Cedar Springs Road in December 2011 has been set for trial in July. So far, Bainbridge has received no compensation.
The driver was delivering pizza and admitted he was on the phone with the Pizza Hut restaurant for which he worked at the time he hit Bainbridge, according to what the victim told Dallas Voice at the time of the accident. Bainbridge also said the driver said he did not see anyone in the crosswalk.
John Loza, Bainbridge’s attorney, said part of the delay in bringing the case to trial lay in figuring out who the pizza delivery driver was working for when the accident happened.
“The driver was hard to track down,” Loza said. “His insurance company stonewalled us. We filed the case, and civil cases tend to take some time to work to a court date.”
Bainbridge was crossing Cedar Springs Road in a crosswalk four years ago when he was injured. Cars had stopped in both directions to yield to the pedestrian. But the pizza delivery driver went around a stopped car and accelerated before striking Bainbridge.
Bainbridge hit the car’s windshield before being thrown to the ground. Bainbridge, who was 72 at the time, was taken to Parkland Hospital where he spent four days being treated for his injuries, which included a broken collarbone.
While he was in the hospital, doctors discovered that Bainbridge also had heart defibrillation problems that may have been a result of the accident.
He had not been diagnosed previously with heart problems. Bainbridge said this week that as an American Airlines pilot, he had to undergo regular annual examinations, including being examined for any indication of heart problems, in order to retain his pilot’s license. After reaching the airline’s mandatory retirement period, Bainbridge maintained his pilot’s license and continued to fly private planes.
“I never had an irregular heartbeat before,” Bainbridge said.
Bainbridge is suing both the restaurant and the city of Dallas.
While accidents can happen anywhere, Bainbridge believes Dallas is liable for the accident in which he was injured because it was one in a spate of accidents that happened along the strip on Cedar Springs within a short period. Pedestrians were killed in two of those accidents.
At the time, the crosswalks on The Strip were poorly marked. One crosswalk — at Reagan Street — had lights embedded in the pavement that flashed when a pedestrian was crossing, but the city had difficulty maintaining that crosswalk because of utility crews repeatedly breaking up the street.
After the two pedestrians died, but before Bainbridge was hit, then-Councilwoman Angela Hunt asked city staff to look into ways to make the area safer.
By January 2012, the city began to install flashing lights at crosswalks. One of the fatal accidents happened near Reagan Street. The turn from Reagan Street onto Cedar Springs became right turn only.
The crosswalk where Bainbridge was hit and another half a block away at the library where a 10-year-old girl was hit after getting off a school bus were outfitted with flashing lights activated by a push button that warns approaching traffic to look for pedestrians.
Other plans under consideration for Cedar Springs Road include the possibility of narrowing the street to one lane in each direction and adding landscaping that would tend to slow traffic are under consideration. The cost for those improvements comes from funds dedicated from a bond package.
Each council member was given an equal amount of money for district improvements. Because
Cedar Springs Road divides council districts, money was dedicated from both District 2 and 14 for the project.
Studies are underway by city planners to determine how to improve Cedar Springs Road, taking both ambiance and safety into consideration. Several ideas were presented to merchants and area residents last fall and suggestions last fall. The city will present a plan to area residents and merchants this summer and plan construction to begin later in the year.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 20, 2015.