L.A. to pay $6 million to settle suit over Highland Park crash that killed teen

Mourners gather in 2015 at the roadside memorial near South Avenue 60 and North Figueroa Street in Highland Park where 17-year-old Andres Perez was killed while walking to his school.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to spend $6 million to settle a lawsuit over the death of a teenage boy who was struck by a city truck while crossing a Highland Park intersection.

Nearly three years ago, Andres Perez was hit by a truck driven by a city employee. At the time of Andres’ death, the executive director of his charter school told The Times that the 17-year-old was an “awesome student” who had just been accepted to film school at Cal State L.A.

His family sued the city and the driver, alleging that the employee who hit Andres was “unfit and unqualified” to drive the truck, had driven the vehicle in a reckless manner, and that the intersection was “dangerously defective.” Andres was walking in a marked crosswalk when he was killed, according to the lawsuit.


A few months before his death, a Times analysis spanning 2002 to 2013 had identified South Avenue 60 and North Figueroa Street, where the accident occurred, as a particularly problematic intersection for pedestrians.

However, city attorneys argued that the intersection was not dangerous, and that part of the case was eventually dropped. City attorneys said in legal filings that there was no trash or debris obstructing the crosswalk, the markings were not uneven or worn away, and that the Bureau of Street Services had not gotten requests for service at that location.

The council voted 11 to 0 to approve the payment Wednesday.

“We are glad the case has been resolved and the family can move on from this tragedy,” attorney Brian Panish, who is representing the Perez family, said Wednesday.

Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for City Atty. Mike Feuer, said that “our hearts go out to Andres’ parents.”

“It is hard to imagine the enormity of their loss,” Wilcox said.

The truck driver, David M. Francis, is still employed by the Bureau of Street Services as an equipment operator, according to the city personnel department.


Twitter: @AlpertReyes