By Doug Oakley
Berkeley is paying an El Cerrito woman $170,000 for injuries suffered when she was hit by a police car while riding her moped in the Marin Avenue traffic circle in 2009.
The liability payment from the city to an injured person is one of the highest in recent memory, City Attorney Zach Cowan said.
The City Council approved the payment at its Tuesday night meeting without comment. California Highway Patrol spokesman Sam Morgan said his agency investigated the accident and concluded the Berkeley police officer was at fault. The officer has since retired.
"The officer was found at fault, but was not cited," Morgan said. "It's not very common to cite individuals in a crash because there is usually not enough physical evidence. According to his statement he entered the roundabout but didn't see her until they collided."
Lisbeth Ann Bittle went flying over the handlebars of her moped when she was hit and landed on the pavement, said her attorney, Daniel Martinez de la Vega.
"That area is pretty notorious for accidents," Martinez de la Vega said. "People don't yield there."
He said Bittle had extensive scarring on her legs that recently needed surgery. After the accident she spent several weeks on bed rest and used crutches for several months, he added.
Cowan said it was a good thing Bittle was wearing a helmet.
"It's unfortunate all around, and we wish her the best," Cowan said. "I think we can safely say this was not on purpose."
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.