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City of Dallas will pay up to $740k in settlements for its bad drivers

Cars and trucks roll on the I-345 during rush hour Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in downtown Dallas. Dallas city council has to decide to approve or not approve a TxDOT recommended option for the aging highway.
Yfat Yossifor
/
KERA
The City of Dallas is paying out almost $740,000 in six separate cases involving vehicle collisions — and a city employee behind the wheel.

The Dallas City Council has approved spending almost $740,000 to settle cases involving vehicle collisions. In each of the payouts approved during Wednesday’s meeting, a city employee was involved.

That includes up to $55,000 to be paid out after a Dallas Animal Services employee hit another car while changing lanes. That car in turn hit another car in the lane in an adjacent lane, according to court records.

Up to $270,000 will be paid to a motorist whose car was hit when a Dallas Sanitation Services truck made a U-turn and struck it.

In another case, a Dallas firefighter driving a fire truck failed to “yield to traffic.” The collision resulted in “serious, permanent, disfiguring and life-changing injuries” to the plaintiff, according to court records. The woman who was injured will get up to $280,000.

Dallas Police Department and Dallas Water Utilities employees also were involved in collisions.

“I’m concerned about the number and the size of some of these cases,” District 14 Council Member Paul Ridley said during the meeting. “I call on the city manager to review our policies and procedures with regard to driver training and driver repercussions that cause accidents.”

Ridley said the city needed to get a handle on the situation and said it seemed to be getting “out of control.”

Ridley was the only council member to speak on the six items approved in the consent agenda. Those items — which can range from a few to dozens — are usually voted on all together without much discussion from the body.

KERA reached out to the city to see what specific policies it had to address this type of issue. The city did not respond with comment before this story was published.

The quiet approval comes at a time when Dallas elected officials are facing multiple financial issues to figure out. A new budget is due in the next few months — and in November, city officials will have to submit a plan to remedy billions in unfunded public safety pension liabilities.

Got a tip? Email Nathan Collins at ncollins@kera.org. You can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathannotforyou.

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Nathan Collins is the Dallas Accountability Reporter for KERA. Collins joined the station after receiving his master’s degree in Investigative Journalism from Arizona State University. Prior to becoming a journalist, he was a professional musician.