Trump protester who blocked freeway and was hit by car sues UC San Diego, city and others

UC San Diego police said about 500 students took to the streets after last year's election to protest Donald Trump's victory.
UC San Diego police said about 500 students took to the streets after last year’s election to protest Donald Trump’s victory.
(Thomas Gui)

A Compton woman who was struck by a car on the 5 Freeway last year during a political protest that spilled onto the freeway is suing UC San Diego, among others, alleging failure to contain the demonstration and prevent a dangerous situation.

Maria Ana Carrola Flores, 19, filed the lawsuit this month in San Diego County Superior Court against defendants, including the university, the driver of the car that struck her, the state and the city of San Diego. The lawsuit’s allegations include negligence and a dangerous condition on public property.

A university spokeswoman declined to comment because litigation was ongoing. The city of San Diego did not respond to requests for comment.

Flores, then 18, was part of a protest that started on the UCSD campus in La Jolla after Donald Trump gave his presidential victory speech in New York in the early morning hours of Nov. 9, 2016, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported at the time. The protest eventually moved onto the southbound 5 Freeway north of Nobel Drive, where a car struck Flores about 1:40 a.m.


California Highway Patrol officers told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the driver stopped after the car struck Flores, and he was not suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Flores’ attorney, Jerold “Gene” Sullivan of Manhattan Beach, said by telephone Tuesday that his client suffered multiple broken bones and has permanent disabilities.

He said Flores accepts some responsibility for her injuries — but not all of it.

“We think it’s a case of shared responsibility of the school, Maria and the driver, and we’re not saying that anybody is without fault or fault-free,” Sullivan said. “We think other people bear some responsibility as well.”


Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that UCSD or the UC Board of Regents bears some responsibility for the protest. The lawsuit says the school and other defendants did not contain the protest and allowed it to spill onto the freeway, where security was inadequate to keep protesters safe.

An emergency vehicle was driving back and forth across lanes to block traffic so authorities could shut down the freeway, the lawsuit said. The car that struck Flores had been able to get around the emergency vehicle.

The lawsuit seeks attorneys’ fees, court costs and unspecified damages, according to proof at trial.


Cook writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.