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Orange County

Accident Victim Is Awarded $5.2 Million

April 11, 2002|DAVID REYES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The city of Yorba Linda, a construction firm and a local water district must pay $5.2 million to a 20-year-old motorist who was severely injured in a car crash in a construction zone, an Orange County jury decided.

Keith Saul of Yorba Linda, who is quadriplegic as a result of his injuries, had hit gravel as he was driving through a construction zone. He lost control and hit a large excavator.

The jury found Saul partly responsible for the Aug. 5, 2000, accident because he was speeding and not wearing a seat belt, according to Saul's attorney, Steven M. Barnhill of Los Angeles. Still, it found that the defendants also held responsibility.

Albert M. Davies Inc., in Rancho Cucamonga, was laying a water pipe along Richfield Road for the Yorba Linda Water District. Both were named defendants in addition to Yorba Linda, but the city will not have to pay any damages because of an agreement made with the other two, said Linda S. Bauermeister, the city's trial lawyer.

"I think the jury had a lot of sympathy for the defendant and wanted to award the young driver money," said Lester Davies, a spokesman for the contractor.

Saul settled with two other defendants for $1.7 million, Bauermeister said.

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