Town faces claims after accident with police cruiser
Bob Mello; Journal Staff Writer
(WARREN, R.I.) -- A Portsmouth woman and a Bristol man involved in a collision with a police cruiser in December have filed damage claims with the town.
Diane M. Nicholas, 41, of 8 Fourth St., Portsmouth, and Jason LaPorte, 24, of 403 Wood St., Bristol, were injured in the accident when a cruiser, driven by Patrolman Edward Borges, hit one of the cars and forced it into the other one.
Nicholas and Borges were taken to Rhode Island Hospital after the accident where they were treated and later released.
At last week's Town Council meeting, council members denied the claims and referred them to Town Solicitor Anthony DeSisto. DeSister then sent the claims to the town's insurance provider The Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust.
LaPorte seeks $ 50,000 in her claim, while Nicholas asked for satisfaction in an undetermined amount.
Nicholas is represented by lawyer John J. Lombardi, the City Council president in Providence. Nicholas said in her claim that in the crash she was seriously and permanently injured; suffered, continues to suffer, and will in the future suffer great pain of body and mind.
She also said that the accident has left her large medical bills and that she will incur more medical expenses in the future. Nicholas said that she has suffered a loss of earnings and that she has been unable to use her vehicle because of the damage from the accident.
LaPorte claims that Patrolman Borges failed to take the proper safeguards and proportions and collided with his vehicle causing him personal injuries and damage to his vehicle.
In his claim, LaPorte, who is represented by lawyer James V. Burchfield Jr., of Providence, said his 1987 Chevy Blazer was totaled and that he suffered injuries to his upper back, shoulder and neck.
According to a report on the accident by state police Trooper Charles G. Levalley, Borges was going west on Child Street (Route 103) with the lights and siren on.
As he approached the intersection of Arlington Avenue, the report said Borges slowed and proceeded through the traffic light. Nicholas and LaPorte were going south on one-way Arlington Avenue when they approached the intersection.
Nicholas was in the left lane and LaPorte was alongside on the right, the report said. Nicholas's vehicle passed the green light and hit the police cruiser, the report said. The impact pushed Nicholas's vehicle into LaPorte's, which overturned and wound up in the middle of the intersection.
According to Burchfield, the accident is still under investigation.
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