Kevin Valine

Modesto News: Trip and falls, car crashes and falling trees cost city $51,000

Modesto paid $51,963.40 in the second quarter to resolve 20 lawsuits and claims filed against it. The payouts cover April 1 through June 30 and and include such incidents as a police officer rear-ending a car; tree limbs falling on cars; and a woman injured when she tripped and fell.

The largest payout was for $11,838.13 to fix the sewer line for an Oakdale Road fourplex owned by Foxborough Residential LP. A city contractor had drilled a hole through the line for a conduit for streetlights about a decade ago. The sewer line became more clogged over the years until plumbers could no longer clear it. They discovered the problem as they were replacing the blocked line.

The other large payouts were $8,500 for a woman whose car was rear-ended by a police officer; $7,500 to a woman who was hurt after tripping and falling on a sidewalk; $7,048 for a tree falling on a car; and $5,109.64 for a tree falling on a car and a house.

“It’s a picture of the types of claims that we pay – trees, trips and falls, and motor vehicle accidents,” Modesto Risk Manager Mary Akin said.

She said the amount of the second-quarter payouts was very low for a city the size of Modesto.

The smallest payout was for $17.97 for a woman whose mailbox was damaged when workers removed a city tree.

In other city news, Modesto officials expect downtown will be packed with thousands of spectators Aug. 2-3 to watch the first Modesto Grand Prix, in which superkarts will race along city streets. Superkarts look like miniature Formula One race cars and can hit speeds of 100 mph.

If you want to attend the race but avoid parking downtown, Modesto is offering free parking and shuttle service to and from the race. Spectators can park in Modesto Junior College’s parking lot at Stoddard and Tully avenues or the Health Services Agency’s Pediatrics Center lot at 830 Scenic Drive. Modesto Area Express buses will pick up spectators every 10 minutes from 11:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Modesto also is seeking people to help with the race. It’s looking for groups to volunteer, such as members of service clubs, but everyone is welcome. The city needs volunteers from Tuesday through the last day of the race. Call Stephanie Smith at (209) 577-5450 if you are interested.

For more on the race – including purchasing tickets – go to