Poway Water Tender crash leads to lawsuit against U.S. government
SAN DIEGO ---- A Scripps Ranch family has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government in connection with a Labor Day 2005 crash in which a U.S. Forest Service Water Tender on its way to a wildfire collided with a sport-utility vehicle in Poway, allegedly causing a wife and mother to suffer severe brain damage.
Filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in San Diego, the lawsuit asks for an unspecified amount of money in damages for Katherine Jones, 47, her husband and her three children.
In letters denying legal claims the Jones family had to file before suing, a government attorney expressed "deepest condolences" to the family, but wrote that the government believes it is not liable for any damages resulting from the collision.
The lawsuit alleges that on Sept. 5, 2005, a U.S. Forest Service water truck was driving west on Scripps Poway Parkway when it went through a red light at Pomerado Road and crashed into the right side of the Jones family's Honda Pilot, where Katherine Jones was seated.
The lawsuit alleges that U.S. government employees were negligent for failing to stop at the red light, safely slow down as the Water Tender approached the intersection or "otherwise ensure the truck could proceed through the red light without endangering other drivers and their passengers."
The forest service truck was on its way to help fight a wildfire in Rancho Penasquitos that burned about 150 acres and prompted the evacuation of about 200 homes.
An attorney for the Jones children, who also were hurt in the crash, said the forest service still had an obligation to proceed cautiously at a red light.