Northeast Times

Family of woman fatally struck sues city

The fam­ily of a preg­nant North­east wo­man who was struck and killed while walk­ing across Roosevelt Boulevard two years ago has sued the city, the state, SEPTA and PECO seek­ing com­pens­a­tion for her death and the death of her un­born child.

Eduardo Moya, the wo­man’s fath­er and ad­min­is­trat­or of her es­tate, claims that the de­fend­ants failed to make re­l­at­ively in­ex­pens­ive safety im­prove­ments to the 12-lane high­way, which is also known as U.S. Route 1, des­pite identi­fy­ing haz­ards and for­mu­lat­ing a plan to fix them about 18 months pri­or to the fatal crash.

Gis­elle Moya, 28, of the 2200 block of Faunce St., was eight months preg­nant on April 11, 2011, when she ex­ited a north­bound SEPTA bus on the Boulevard at Lex­ing­ton Av­en­ue and at­temp­ted to cross the high­way on foot. It was about 9:30 p.m. An­oth­er wo­man had ex­ited the bus and was also cross­ing when a north­bound mo­tor­cycle struck Moya. She and her un­born child, who was iden­ti­fied in the law­suit as “Baby Doe Moya,” suffered mul­tiple trau­mat­ic in­jur­ies and were pro­nounced dead at an area hos­pit­al that night.

The mo­tor­cyc­list re­mained at the scene and was not charged crim­in­ally. Po­lice in­vest­ig­at­ors said that there was a ped­es­tri­an cross­walk about 100 yards north of the bus stop, but Moya and the wit­ness at­temp­ted to cross at the bus stop, not in the cross­walk.

At the time, the staggered con­fig­ur­a­tion was not unique to that sec­tion of the Boulevard. PennDOT, in col­lab­or­a­tion with the Phil­adelphia Streets De­part­ment and SEPTA, had been plan­ning to align sev­er­al cross­walks with bus stops as part of a $1.3 mil­lion Mid-Block Cross­walks and Safety En­hance­ment Plan, which the state agency for­mu­lated in 2009.

That work had not been com­pleted. In the weeks fol­low­ing Moya’s death, PennDOT of­fi­cials told the North­east Times that a lack of fund­ing had delayed the pro­ject, which was ori­gin­ally planned for sum­mer 2010.

“Ped­es­tri­ans cross­ing at the loc­a­tion of this SEPTA bus stop [were] forced to trans­gress Roosevelt Boulevard in an area of the road­way that [had] pre­vi­ously been des­ig­nated as dan­ger­ous with cross­walk and sig­nal­ing modi­fic­a­tions hav­ing been de­vised on de­fend­ant PennDOT’s draw­ing board for ap­prox­im­ately a year and a half be­fore this in­cid­ent,” the law­suit states. “Had that plan been im­ple­men­ted pri­or to [the crash], the de­cedents would not have been killed.”

Me­dia-based at­tor­ney Gregory G. Stagliano au­thored the law­suit, which was filed in Phil­adelphia Com­mon Pleas Court last month.

The law­suit also notes that between 2004 and 2008, there were at least 2,500 vehicle crashes on Roosevelt Boulevard between Ninth Street and the city bound­ary at Poquess­ing Creek, ac­cord­ing to PennDOT fig­ures. Those crashes res­ul­ted in at least 54 fatal­it­ies. More than a quarter of the deaths res­ul­ted from ped­es­tri­an-re­lated crashes.

The north­bound lanes ap­proach­ing Lex­ing­ton Av­en­ue carry vehicles down a hill and around a bend, haz­ards that make it more dif­fi­cult for drivers to de­tect and avoid obstacles, the law­suit claims. In ad­di­tion, the suit al­leges PECO failed to provide ad­equate street light­ing in the area.

In the af­ter­math of the ac­ci­dent, a po­lice ac­ci­dent in­vest­ig­at­or told the North­east Times that light­ing was “ad­equate.” The same po­lice source noted that Moya was wear­ing dark cloth­ing that night.

The law­suit seeks un­spe­cified dam­ages for Moya’s fam­ily, par­tic­u­larly her sur­viv­ing son, who was 5 at the time of his moth­er’s death. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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