Mother seeks $15 million from city in daughter’s hit-and-run death

The mother of a woman killed while crossing the street in Long Beach has filed a $15 million legal claim against the city alleging the roadway where her daughter died was unsafe for pedestrians.

Thirty-year-old Elyssa Negrete was crossing Pacific Avenue at Burnett Street when a car hit her and a man with her around 11:55 p.m. on June 25.

Dash-cam footage caught by an Uber driver shows Negrete and the man were in a crosswalk about to reach the curb when a white car crashed into them. The video shows them tumbling to the ground while the driver continues down the road without noticeably slowing down.

The crash killed Negrete, who is from Wilmington, and seriously hurt the man, according to Long Beach police, who said nobody has been arrested yet, but detectives believe they’ve identified the driver and are waiting on prosecutors to decide what if any charges should be filed.

A police report about the crash says the crosswalk is marked by large yellow rectangles painted on the asphalt and notes the intersection is lit by streetlights on each corner.

But the wrongful death claim filed by Negrete’s mother, Alina Roa, alleges the intersection is known to be unsafe.

“Residents indicate the area is dangerous and more precautions such as additional lights, stop signs, or reflectors would assist in making pedestrians more visible to vehicles,” Rao’s attorney says in the document, which was filed around the end of December.

The speed limit on Pacific Avenue in that area is 30 mph, according to the police report on the crash. There is a stop sign for traffic on Burnett, but there is no stop sign or signal for traffic on Pacific.

The Long Beach Police Department on scene in the 1900 block of Pacific Avenue, where a vehicle struck a pedestrian on May 16, 2019. Photo by Stephen Carr.

Negrete was not the only person killed along that stretch of Pacific Avenue last year.

In February, a 63-year-old man was killed while crossing Pacific at the same intersection.

In July, the LBPD said they’d cited 65 people near that intersection in a single day during a crackdown on speeding, crosswalk violations and distracted driving.

In all, four pedestrians were killed along Pacific Avenue between Anaheim and Willow streets last year, although none since Negrete’s death, according to LBPD reports.

Roa’s attorney did not immediately respond to messages asking about the wrongful death claim, and the Long Beach City Attorney’s office declined to comment.

A legal claim against a city is typically a precursor to a lawsuit.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.