An Altadena pediatrician was awarded $35 million by a Compton jury Wednesday for a 1985 automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Dr. David B. Rogers, 35, was northbound on the Harbor Freeway in his Honda when a wheel came off a southbound Volkswagen and struck the center divider. The wheel hit an abandoned steel support post on the divider and flew 25 feet into the air before it came down through the roof of Rogers’ car and broke his neck.
Rogers sued Honda, Volkswagen and the California Department of Transportation. Honda settled last year for $2 million; Volkswagen was not found liable. But Caltrans was found liable for having left the post in place even though the glare screen it once supported was taken down years ago, said Thomas Flanagan, one of three lawyers who handled the case for Rogers.