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Settlement ends pedestrian's suit

A $149,000 settlement has resolved a civil lawsuit lodged by a pedestrian who was hit by a Town of Tonawanda police car a little more than two years ago.

The lawsuit against the Town of Tonawanda, its Police Department and Officer Frank DiRienzo was scheduled to go to trial in January. The settlement, negotiated by outside counsel retained by the town, was approved by the Town Board in December.

"We made the decision that in the best interest of protecting the taxpayers' dollars, we were going to resolve this thing," Town Attorney John J. Flynn said Monday.

The town is self-insured and is responsible for the first$1 million of a claim.

Troy D. Ford was crossing Military Road, near Keller Avenue, the night of Dec. 14, 2008, when he was hit by a police car that wasn't responding to an emergency, according to Gregory Pajak, his attorney. Ford suffered a compound fracture of the right leg and was hospitalized for 10 days.

The $149,000 is compensation for pain and suffering. In addition, the town has paid more than $37,000 for Ford's medical expenses and lost wages; the town's no-fault insurance has a cap of $50,000.

Ford was working for a local restaurant at the time of the accident. He still can work, but with limitations, Pajak said.

No action was taken against the officer driving the car.

"The police reviewed the incident, but there was no need for any [disciplinary action]," said Flynn, the town attorney. "Quite frankly, it was an accident. The officer really didn't do anything wrong."

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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