INDIANAPOLIS — The state's highest court is declining to review a Court of Appeals decision that ordered a trial to determine whether a Hobart woman struck by a Chesterton police vehicle is entitled to payment for the injuries she suffered.
The Indiana Supreme Court announced Monday that it would not grant transfer in the case. The five justices did not say why they declined to hear it, but Chief Justice Loretta Rush indicated the decision was unanimous.
As a result, Sheila Gonzalez can pursue her claims against the town of Chesterton and the Porter County Drug Task Force stemming from the 2014 crash between a vehicle driven by a Chesterton police detective, on duty with the task force, and Gonzalez, who was bicycling with her children across Lute Road in Portage on the Prairie Duneland Trail.
Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford initially ruled against Gonzalez by granting summary judgment in favor of the town and task force because he concluded that Gonzalez was contributorily negligent for her injuries by failing to follow traffic laws relating to bicycles.
The appeals court, however, reversed Bradford's ruling May 21 in a 3-0 decision.
It found sufficient reason to believe that a jury, looking at all the evidence in the case, might conclude Gonzalez was not contributorily negligent, and the employers of Chesterton Detective Sara Ritz may be solely responsible for Gonzalez's injuries.
That evidence includes Gonzalez's habit of always coming to a complete stop on her bicycle before crossing a street, looking both ways, as well as the unusually high speed of the detective's vehicle relative to other traffic, according to court records.
A trial date has not yet been set.