Woman Struck by Big Rig Sues City

Seeking unspecified damages resulting from crash last November


The woman who was struck by a tractor-trailer last November while crossing at East Washington and McDowell Boulevard is suing the city of Petaluma.

Heather Kontos, 23, suffered major injuries in the early morning accident, including a broken pelvis and injury to her abdomen, leg and brain, according to her attorney, and continues to receive treatment.

In the suit, filed November 22 in California Superior Court, Kontos blames poor lighting and concrete pillars at the busy intersection that she says obstructed the driver’s view and caused him to hit her as she was walking.

“We believe that the City of Petaluma knew or should have known that the intersection was dangerous and would present a potential risk to both pedestrians and motorists,” said Timothy Loranger, an attorney with Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman in Los Angeles.

“The street lamps were not working at this intersection, and in particular, the street lamp at the corner where Ms. Kontos was walking was not lit, causing the area to be dark.”

A year after the accident, the city has not fixed the light, according to Loranger.

Kontos, a Casa Grande grad, has incurred more than $1 million in medical expenses and will likely suffer some disability for the rest of her life, Loranger said. 

The young woman is seeking unspecified damages, in part because her treatment continues.

Reached on Tuesday, Ron Blaquie, the city’s risk assessment manager, said he could not comment on ongoing litigation.

Kontos’s suit also names Matheson Postal Services, the company which owns the mail truck, and the driver. The suit was filed in Sacramento because the company is based there.

Lomaxx Leipschidtzs November 28, 2012 at 03:37 AM
I don't remember reading where THE CITY OF PETALUMA RAN HER OVER!!!! Two idiots get together, neither is paying attention... SUE THE CITY?!? How about the knuckle-heads involved take responsibility for their actions and leave the rest of us, who can negotiate that intersection daily without incident, out of it?!? This seems like a Kontos/ Matheson issue, not a Petaluma issue. For the readers out there, don't walk in front of a tractor/ trailer in the dark! Seems it wasn't just the corner that was dimly lit.
Concerned Citizen November 28, 2012 at 03:48 PM
A little harsh, don't you think? There is an issue at stake here, and that's why the city failed to have either fixed or maintained the Street Lights at this MAJOR intersection? And due to budget cuts, the city now employs only ONE person to fix all of the several thousand streets lights in the entire area. And if it's an intersection a person is FORCED to have to utilize daily to reach a bus walk to work or whatever, then the city perhaps has some culpability for not prioritizing what lights should get fixed immediately. Also, we have no information regarding the potential visual obstruction issues compounded by the decorative pillars the city wasted a significant amount of money in erecting in the first place. My point: 1)There's more information at stake here, and your terse response is void of any knowledge of the subject, let alone contain any compassion for the injured woman. 2) That a 23 y/o woman was severely hurt, thereby exposing a potential problem at the intersection that the city may very well have caused 3) And I seriously doubt you've not either caused or have been involved in a vehicle accident...and if you were the victim here, you'd be singing a very different tune.
Nicole November 28, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I have to agree with Lomaxx. I drive through this intersection almost every day and it isn't really dark. And for sure not in the crosswalks. Even if the light was out, there is still plenty of light from surrounding buildings and cars. How do you get hit by a semi at an intersection? By not paying attention. They're huge and don't go very fast. And Concerned Citizen is also right in that if he were involved in the accident, he might think differently. But, that doesn't mean suing the city is the right thing to do and maybe people are just out to blame all they can blame instead of taking responibility for their own mistakes. He who thinks the cars will stop, will get hit. We learn this is at age 4 and thats why we look both ways.
mikeg55 November 28, 2012 at 07:49 PM
She looks HOT!
Lomaxx Leipschidtzs November 28, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Ok, Concerned Citizen, what kind of visual obstructions do YOU need for you to think you should walk out in front of a tractor/ trailer?? If it's dark, YOU look before you step into the crosswalk! EVERYONE's mother said, "Put your coat on", "eat your veggies" and (for the love of God) "Look both ways before crossing"! There's sidewalk and there's roadway. Pedestrians who believe that walking out into the roadway because 'paint on asphalt' gives them the right of way should know better!! It's like a sidewalk/ railroad intersection. Walk in front of the train and you die. Well, she's lucky her 'traffic HAS to stop for me' thought didn't get her killed!
Concerned Citizen November 29, 2012 at 03:33 PM
You do realize that the law is specific regarding pedestrians in Crosswalks right? No matter what....they have the right of way. And it takes between 15-20 seconds to cross that specific spot, so she may have not seen the Tractor-Trailer that hit her from the opposite direction, because it was several hundred feet away before entering the intersection from a DIFFERENT direction at 35 MPH! And the LIGHTS were out, but yet you and others contend its"still bright enough"....but the Professionally Paid driver of a big rig didn't see her? You are so high and mighty. God forbid you ever get struck by a vehicle when you think it's OK to cross an intersection that the city failed to properly maintain. And then people speculating: "Was she intoxicated or homeless or a Prostitute"Wait.....its a "crime" to be homeless and hit by a car now. The total lack of compassion for this injured woman is saddening. Let a Judge or Jury decide if the city had culpability.....just like you would ask for if it happened to you. And that we are VOID of ANY factual information on this case, your speculation is simply gossip mongering. And to Bill P.; people with ideology like you really need help.
mikeg55 November 30, 2012 at 03:02 PM
what's your sign sweetie?
Lomaxx Leipschidtzs December 02, 2012 at 07:18 AM
Alright, Concerned Citizen. You want to be right on this? Ok, you're right BUT perhaps you'll see things differently someday after you're involved in an auto accident where you didn't have time to stop because someone who wasn't paying attention pulls out in front of YOU, receives injuries beyond the coverage of your insurance policy and sues YOU. The laws are specific... The damage is on the front of YOUR car so obviously YOU hit them and it's YOUR fault. It shouldn't matter that you were driving at 40mph in a 40mph zone and they pulled out when you only had twenty feet to react while your car would take seventy five feet to stop and you were looking down at your car stereo to see what time it was when it happened. YOU should be responsible for making this idiot a millionaire and paying for it with YOUR hard work for the rest of YOUR life because THEY didn't look to see if anyone was coming before they pulled out. Again, were talking about a woman suing the city for an intersection being lit inappropriately for conditions (pedestrians and automobiles sharing a space) and again, we're talking about an adult who's physically capable of navigating her body across a street, whose mind is capable of determining the amount of time this process will take and she should know... If the vehicle is getting close and the light is burnt out, YOU DON'T STEP INTO THE CROSSWALK!!! We're not talking about Helen Keller trying to cross the street with a leg injury here.
Concerned Citizen December 02, 2012 at 07:53 AM
Hey Lomaxx...you've proven that you have a grasp of the "Straw Man Fallacy". How about facts next time? I mean....heck...why not tell a story about a space alien who stops in front of my car, I hit his space ship, and then have to go to Mars for the trial? ..LOL You do realize that a year since the accident, the city hasn't even fixed the Street Lights in the Intersection? And it's that lack of action that is allowing the victims lawyer to have a basis for a Lawsuit? Do you even grasp these facts? It's a Kontos/ Matheson/ City of Petaluma issue now. I'm really curious; since we all know you have never made a mistake in your life, and you've never been responsible for causing an accident, never threatened to sue a person or have been involved in a lawsuit, and of course you believe in the right for Civil Litigation (or are you a believer in a Socialist Society?) Anyway...why is it that you 1) lack ANY compassion for this young woman and want to bar her from having a Jury of her peers decide who was at fault? 2) Lack any facts about the case: you weren't there, you didn't witness the accident, you have no accident report, you have no witness statements...nothing? 3) Think somehow this woman will be a Millionaire UNLESS a JURY decides it's the RIGHT thing to do? The city employ's just ONE person to fix the hundreds of Street Lights that need repairing, including 2 intersections near a school where I live. Wait until a child gets hit Lomaxx, then you'll see a real lawsuit
Lomaxx Leipschidtzs December 02, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Facts? You need facts? Here's a fact... The fact that your mind drifts off and makes outer space references shows that YOU don't have a grasp on reality. I won't argue with you Citizen. You're clearly the one who knows best with your space ships and Martian trials & all.... Sign your name to your comments so the community knows who to avoid. (must be my ex) I can't wait to see how many taxpayer dollars go to this trial so a jury of her peers can tell her that the city is not at fault. Quick, someone get me an accident report so I can convince Citizen that HUMANS need to be careful crossing the street!
Concerned Citizen December 02, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Lomaxx, why are you Trolling? My Space Ship comment simply illustrates how silly your one man campaign against this woman is, and how you take the Straw Man Fallacy to a whoe new level. Its OK for you to make up a story, letting your mind drift about me driving 40 mph in your fantasy world? You have NO facts, NO proof, nothing, nada regarding how this woman got hit. And your refrain "look both ways" proves your lack of accumen on the subject. Do you really think this woman didn't look before initially entering the crosswalk? Wait, Lomaxx can read minds! But now we know your REAL agenda. Your reference to your ex-wife, and your disdain for the victim of this accident to be able to go to court finally connects the dots. So a Judge ordered you to pay half?.....LOL
Lomaxx Leipschidtzs December 02, 2012 at 11:19 PM
You're not reading between the lines and you've clearly got your little 'pay the people who lack the faculties to make good judgments' mind made up. Facts, proof, reports, budget cuts, poor lighting and decorative concrete pillars don't have anything to do with what you're asking the community to accept. The city has nothing to do with the truck driver not seeing the victim! How many traffic accidents are based on the, "I didn't see them" factor? Are we to pay for all of them?? Is every city required to make daylight available 24/7?? Are we all to blame for every accident out there because we haven't installed a 1000w bulb every five feet?? Now, every automobile v. pedestrian accident is the city's fault? Did the city make her go out in the dark? Did the city make her cross the street? Was the driver hired by the city? Citizen, you're clearly one of those bleeding hearts who'll purposely miss EVERY obvious point just for the sake of argument. Should this go to trial, I hope you end up on the jury so you can help the victim.(apparently you believe Matheson's umbrella policy isn't enough compensation) Believe this though, council for the city will certainly bring up every point I've made, should it go that far. Continue with your idiotic LOL's in your spaceship reality CC. Apparently my references about a driver, operating a vehicle at 40mph pushed the limits of normalcy for you. (quite a stretch, I know) You're alright, though. You're alright. Just relax. Calm. Calm.
Concerned Citizen December 02, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Lomaxx, there you go again with your Straw Man defense. I NEVER said I "sided" with the victim. But I do contend that if the city fails to maintain it's Street Lights on such busy Intersections, that it leaves the city wide open for this type of lawsuit. Think about it; if the city had the lights fixed, how much does that affect the plaintiff's ability to successfully sue? Come on Lomaxx, use your brain! And for the record, I only said she has the RIGHT to litigate, and let a jury decide who was at fault, even if it is eventually found the victim was at fault. I believe she has that RIGHT, because the city failed in it's due diligence to maintain the lights. Of course you'll Troll in again and spew your nonesense. No wonder why you lost half...LOL
Lomaxx Leipschidtzs December 03, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Wow CC, you're too much! No wonder you LOL all over the net. ...ignorance is bliss, eh? Ha! You call the rest of us trolls?? Uhmm... Ok! You've got us ALL figured out! Have fun 'leaving a comment', 'ranting and raving', 'yelping' and 'liking' all the web has to offer! You've got this one. Enjoy your spaceship and your fortress of solitude there, winner! I'll go use my brain now. I know you'll be here if I come back.
Concerned Citizen December 03, 2012 at 07:11 AM
Oh Lomaxx, you have the Wisdom of youth, and the energy of age! I'd like to leave you with one final thought, but where would you put it?


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