STOCKTON — The family of a 9-year-old girl who was killed last March after being hit by a car in Weston Ranch has filed a lawsuit against various entities and individuals, including the city, Manteca Unified School District and neighbors.
The complaint, which was filed in October, alleges August Knodt Elementary School fourth-grader Brianna Moua was killed as a result of the defendants’ negligence. It lists the defendants as the city of Stockton, Pacific Gas and Electric, H. Stanley Thompson, Thompson-Hysell Engineers, Inc., the state of California, San Joaquin County, Manteca Unified School District and “DOES 1-100,” as well as Weston Ranch residents Chu Q. Yang, and Jesse J. Trejo and Elsa Trejo, who own property to the north and south of Carolyn Weston Boulevard.
On March 6, Brianna was walking home from school about 3:40 p.m. when she was struck by a car on Carolyn Weston Boulevard near Ishi Goto Street, the Stockton Police Department reported. Brianna suffered major injuries and was flown to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento in critical condition. She later died at the hospital.
A call to Sacramento-based Attorney Matthew Eason, who is representing the Moua family, was not returned.
According to the complaint, the junction of the San Joaquin Trail and Carolyn Weston Boulevard “was unreasonably dangerous, and defectively designed” on the day Brianna was killed.
“The trail was and remains an attractive nuisance and unreasonably designed, and to use the trail as designed would encourage and require pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the median, and not at an intersection as defined by California Vehicle Code 365,” the document states.
The plaintiffs, who include Brianna’s father, mother and sister, are asking for damages in an amount proven at trial and a temporary and permanent injunction to close the trail to the public until there have been safety improvements.
The city was “well aware of the dangerous condition of the junction, including the fact that it was not a lawful intersection” and it had the “reasonable time period and funds to remedy the situation and yet took no action to remedy the dangerous junction prior to March 6, 2018,” the complaint states.
City of Stockton Spokeswoman Connie Cochran said she can confirm the city received the complaint, but she could not comment further.
Jesse Trejo, who owns a home near where the girl was hit, said he couldn’t discuss the case, but added that he did not understand why he was included in the complaint as he had nothing to do with the incident.
“I’m not watching other people’s kids and telling them where to walk through,” he said. “That’s each parent’s responsibility.”
Trejo, who has a Sacramento area attorney representing him, compared the suit to the family throwing a fishing pole in the water to see what they can catch.
According to the complaint, the city, PG&E, the Trejos and Yang negligently owned, operated, maintained, controlled or managed the area where the trail and the street met and “invited and encouraged school age children to cross a major thoroughfare at an unmarked junction instead of at a lawful crosswalk …”
The engineering firm that created the trail is included in the complaint alleging that its design created a dangerous condition. As far as Manteca Unified School District, San Joaquin County and California, the family alleges the district, county and state encouraged children, including Brianna, to use “safe routes” to and from school, including the San Joaquin Trail, when they knew or should have known that it required children to cross at a dangerous area.
Prior to the complaint being filed, the Manteca Unified School Board had unanimously rejected claims filed by Chue Moua; Debbie Cha; and Kalie Moua. The district’s legal counsel was instructed to defend the District against any further legal action.
In December, attorneys representing Manteca Unified filed an official answer to the complaint denying the allegations levied against it.
A hearing is scheduled for April 24 in San Joaquin County Superior Court
Contact reporter Almendra Carpizo at (209) 546-8264 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AlmendraCarpizo.