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. ••