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WOMAN STRUCK BY FBI CAR IS AWARDED $517,905

A judge has ordered the federal government to pay $517,905 to a former Buffalo teacher who was hurt when her car was hit by an FBI vehicle that ran a stop sign.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Carol E. Heckman directed the government to pay damages to Hileen P. Salas, 54, who said her career in the Buffalo Public Schools ended when she suffered injuries in the Nov. 30, 1991, crash.

"The damages cover Ms. Salas' pain, suffering and lost wages, including lost future wages," her attorney, Daniel R. Metschl, said Tuesday.

After a non-jury trial last November, Judge Heckman found FBI Special Agent John P. Culhane III to be at fault in the crash.

Ms. Salas claimed the car driven by the on-duty agent had no emergency lights flashing or siren operating when it ran the stop sign at the intersection of Ellicott and East North streets, striking Ms. Salas' car and inflicting multiple injuries. Government attorneys claimed during the trial that Ms. Salas was partly to blame for the accident, and that she was exaggerating the extent of her injuries.

Due to physical and emotional effects of the accident, Ms. Salas has been unable to return to her $40,000-a-year job as a Spanish teacher at Grover Cleveland High School, Metschl said.

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