Corona del Mar Today: Cyclist's widow sues the city

June 25, 2011
  • Students at Harbor View Elementary School participate in a relay that involves carrying stacked, empty pizza boxes during Field Day on Wednesday.
Students at Harbor View Elementary School participate… (AMY SENK )

The widow and children of a cyclist killed last July on Spyglass Hill Road are suing the city of Newport Beach, along with two neighborhood associations and the driver of the truck that struck and killed Michael Nine.

Nine, 43, of Santa Ana, was with a group of about 25 cyclists who rode from Tustin to Newport Coast on July 15, 2010. The group had crested Spyglass Hill Road and were near the exit-only, gated road to the Harbor Ridge development when the crash occurred at about 8 a.m.

Police said a gardener's truck was in the southbound, uphill lane. One cyclist in the group said he was at the head of the pack and yelled, "Truck! Truck! Truck!" when he saw it blocking the road. Everyone was able to swerve around the truck, but Nine collided and later died of his injuries.

The wrongful death suit was filed in April in Orange County Superior Court. The suit claims that the city of Newport Beach failed to create warning signs and safe sight lines and "designed and constructed inconsistent and confusing signing and striping facilities, posing an unreasonable risk of harm to the public…"


Harbor Ridge Estates Maintenance Assn. and Harbor Ridge Master Assn. "failed to erect routing signs and/or warning signs to prevent accidents … had knowledge of prior accidents in or about the same area, failed to advise other public agencies of the dangerous condition of the roadway, failed to install or installed inadequate warning systems for hidden dangers in the area creating a trap for users of the property, created and failed to correct or warn against sight line deficiencies and confusing signing and striping facilities," the suit says.

"These deficiencies created a dangerous condition of public and private property," the suit says.

The suit says the truck driver drove negligently, causing Nine's fatal injuries. The driver also is named as a defendant. He pleaded guilty in February to vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

The suit seeks damages for loss of "support, services, advice, training. Love, consolation, society, comfort and companionship" as well as medical, funeral and legal expenses and loss of Nine's earning capacity. Nine's widow, Tina Nine, and her daughter, 9, and son, 8, are the plaintiffs.

Nine's family filed a claim against Newport Beach in August, and the city rejected the claim in October, according to the suit.


Harbor View holds annual Field Day

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