Jury awards $31 million in crash, assigns partial blame to CalTrans

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With its many twists and turns, State Highway 138 from Palmdale to the I-15 can be a treacherous drive. The intersection at Mountain Road in Pinon Hills is particularly dangerous with a left hand turn lane that forces drivers to turn 130 degrees. Many drivers end up cutting the corner, and in the opposing lane.

That’s what happened to David Evans, who suffered severe brain and spinal cord injuries when another driver pulled in front of his motorcycle. A jury in San Bernardino awarded $31 million to him, assigning 15 percent of the blame to CalTrans.

Attorney Robert Parris said the jury’s award to his client, who suffered severe brain and spinal injuries in a crash, sends a message.

“They made a very loud statement to CalTrans that they want this roadway fixed," Parris said.

Parris, who has lives in the area himself, said residents have been complaining about Highway 138 and that intersection for years.

"They did nothing to fix the problem," he said.

The attorney said Caltrans could place "channelizers" and use road paint to direct drivers into a safer turn.

An agency representative was not immediately available for comment on the award.

Parris said its unclear how much of the $31 million Caltrans will have to pay. He predicted it could be as high as one-third.

"With this verdict, David will now be able to receive the medical care he needs," he said.

Evans, 66, was a career deputy district attorney in Los Angeles. Now he requires 24-hour-nursing care.

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