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Resident files claim for totaled 911 Carrera Cabriolet

City employee ran a red light, hitting the Porsche, according to a witness and police report.

February 09, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

A Huntington Beach public works employee driving a city truck injured a resident and totaled his Porsche last month after running a red light, according to a legal claim filed against the city.

The employee, who was driving a city-owned 2005 Chevrolet truck, was found at fault by the Police Department, according to the police report.

The claim is asking the city to pay more than $31,000 for resident Robert Walker's 2003 Porsche, pending the sale of the salvaged 911 Carrera Cabriolet, according to the claim, filed Jan. 28 by Mercury Insurance Group on Walker's behalf. The amount is tentative, said Eunsill Oh, who is handling the insurance claim for the resident. Once Mercury sells the salvaged vehicle, a final amount will be determined, she said.

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"The car candidly saved my life," Walker said. "Had I been in another car, I would've died that morning."

About 8:35 a.m. Jan. 4, city employee David Fluss ran a red light at Gothard Street and Edinger Avenue, according to the police report.

Fluss, who was on the clock at the time of the accident, was found at fault by the officer who took the report. The truck was towed away from the scene.

Walker, 51, sustained injuries to his nose that closed his sinus cavities, causing pain, headache and swelling to his face, said Walker's attorney, Suzanne Leslie.

Walker also sustained general injures to his neck and back, she said.

Walker was on his way to work in Santa Ana, he said.

An injury claim is expected to be filed within the next few months, once Walker completes his medical treatment, Leslie said.

Fluss, 37, said in the police report that he was sure the light was green when he proceeded on Gothard and that he did not see Walker approach.

But a witness said the light was red when Fluss entered the intersection, according to the report.

"I was greatly disappointed he told the police officer that I was the one who ran the red light," Walker said of the employee. "I was fortunate that there happened to be a pedestrian at a crosswalk who was kind enough to step in."

Laurie Payne, the city's public information officer, said the claim is being reviewed by management.

Payne said the claim has not reached the city attorney's office yet.

Fluss would not be able to comment because a claim was filed, she said.

"I was greatly disappointed by the city of Huntington Beach," Walker said. "No one had the courtesy to contact me and ask me how I felt."

Walker, who owned his white Porsche for about seven years, replaced it with a 2008 model, he said.

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