Council Approves $5-Million Settlement in Woman’s Death


The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to settle for $5 million a lawsuit filed by a man whose wife was killed when their car was rear-ended by a city maintenance truck.

Michael Zitz-Evancih also suffered brain damage in the Jan. 15, 1995, accident on the transition road between the westbound Simi Valley Freeway and the southbound Golden State Freeway near Pacoima.

Zitz-Evancih was driving in the second lane of the transition road when the five-ton Department of Street Maintenance truck hit the back of his car, killing his wife, Joyce.


“The car was just mashed,” said attorney Larry Booth, who along with Johanna Hansen represented Zitz-Evancih.

The driver of the truck was uninjured.

Deputy City Atty. Herbert Seiden, who represented the city in the case, said he did not “feel comfortable” discussing the details of the case. But Booth said the city had argued that the accident was not the truck driver’s fault because he was blinded by the setting sun.

He said Zitz-Evancih, who still suffers from his injuries and requires limited at-home care, will accept the council’s settlement. But Booth said that the $5 million does not settle a separate lawsuit filed by Joyce Zitz-Evancih’s two adult children from a previous marriage.