Town Square

Palo Alto sues man who crashed into police car

Original post made on Jan 23, 2014

The city of Palo Alto is suing a man who crashed into a police car in January 2012 and injured the driver, a Palo Alto police sergeant.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 23, 2014, 9:10 AM


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Posted by Raymond
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 23, 2014 at 10:36 am

Interesting. I wonder how the public fares when they try to sue the PAPD or the City?

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Posted by PAPD Victim
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:47 am

Oh man, this frosts my cupcake. I was hit by a PAPD car in downtown Palo Alto in the early 2000s. It was clearly the cop's fault -- he pulled out of a parking space into fairly heavy traffic and hit me as I was turning right onto Waverley off Hamilton. Somehow the police report was written up so that the accident was MY fault, and all of the witness statements were edited and twisted 180 degrees.

I was cited for turning right from the wrong lane, when that intersection has no right turn lane. The fact is that the cop pulled into traffic without looking around. Maybe he was on a call that just came in -- I will never know. Had he turned on his siren or lights, I would have let him go, but his action was so abrupt that there was no way to avoid it. I ended up with a point on my record that took me 3 years to remove as eventually the DMV agreed with me that the accident was not my fault.

However, PAPD never took responsibility for the crash. My car had over $2,000 in damage and I had to pay the deductible. I have had huge medical expenses since then, including two surgeries. (I didn't believe in whiplash before this happened but now I do!)

PAPD never came after me for the expenses of fixing their officer's car because they knew it was their fault. My insurance company tried many times over the next five years to recoup their costs, but the police department ignored them. Short of filing a lawsuit, I was just stuck.

I lost a lot of respect for the PAPD at that point. It would have been so easy for them to say, "Oh geez, we're sorry! That was totally our officer's fault!" But they dug in and refused. I am still paying for it. Thanks a bunch.

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Posted by Curious
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:56 am

Saw this in the Daily "news that's just too good for the internet" Post yesterday . It's an odd explanation from the city.

Just after 1:30 AM, PAPD pulled over a driver a few blocks from what would become the accident site. The driver failed a sobriety test and was arrested a little after 2 AM. There was at least one other person in the car with the driver. Apparently Sergeant Philip offered to take the woman downtown so she could make other arrangements. As Sergeant Philip passed through the intersection on a green light, Mr Malimban failed to stop traveling in the cross direction for a solid red light and collided broadside with Sergeant Philip.

Sergeant Philip radioed for help. His passenger was trapped in his car, and the fire department responded both to extricate her and transport her to Stanford. Neither Mr Malinban, nor Sergeant Philip were taken to the hospital. Because Sergeant Philip's vehicle was so badly damaged, it had to be towed by a flatbed trailer to the municipal service center .

Sergeant Philip must be a pretty tough guy if he survived a car destroying accident that injured his passenger, refused medical treatment on the scene, and later discovered he was seriously injured.

Seems like there's a little more to this than, "The city is self-insured" but that's why they call me Curious.

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Posted by Corrin
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I too saw this in the Post yesterday ... and was concerned about what they said at the end about police not reporting this accident to the public. I think the community needs to know when an officer is injured and gets into a wreck like this. We pay for these police cars and the medical benefits of police officers. Chief Burns, where's the transparency?

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Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Marie is a registered user.

My car was hit by a PA utility truck. While they took several months, they did eventually reimburse me for the repairs on the car although not the rental car i had to use to repair the car. It just wasn't worth my time to follow up for the last $50. Fortunately, there were no medical issues. While the city wasn't particularly responsive to my inquiries after I filed my claim, they did pay. They could have fought it as both cars were moving (albeit 2 mph), but fortunately they agreed with me that it was the other driver's fault. It wasn't a perfect resolution, but, as the saying goes it was good enough for government work. By and large, although I have my criticisms too, I think the city of Palo Alto does a pretty good job of governing the city.

Please don't give me chapter and verse of all they do wrong. Look at both the good and bad. And just be glad you don't have to live in other cities with much worse records than ours. I am particularly grateful to the utilities department, who have responded so quickly whenever I've had a sewage backup or smell of gas. They aren't perfect but our utility department is by far the best I have ever experienced, having lived in 12 different cities in my life.

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Posted by Randy
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 23, 2014 at 6:13 pm


I hear that the police officers get hurt often, from small injuries to larger ones. I do not think press releases for every injury, even perhaps major ones, should be press releases. I thought that medical problems were none of other people's business? Stop talking about transparency, that statement and your whole post is ridiculous. The paid medical benefits do not give us the "right" to know about everything.

As for the waverley driver, I am sorry you have had to deal with all the injuries. Sounds like you should have filed a lawsuit. Couldn't your insurance co do that on your behalf?

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Posted by OY!
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 23, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Why is the Ass't Director of Human Resources commenting on legal matters regarding the City of Palo Alto? Why isn't our high priced six figure salaried City Attorney, Police Chief, or City Manager providing their input regarding this legal matter? The fact that the city is using a low level manager to persuade public opinion regarding this matter smells funny. What a pity!

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Posted by bill g
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 23, 2014 at 7:35 pm

PAPD Victim. After 10 years and a significant change in our police administration, I think you should see Chief Burns about how cases are handled today. Chief Burns is polite and will listen carefully. While he probably can't do anything after so long, he can tell you how things are handled today.

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Posted by ricee
a resident of Monroe Park
on Jan 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm

the cop was at fault.