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Sunbather run over by Newport Beach lifeguard seeks $850,000

September 4, 2010 |  8:53 am

A sunbather has filed a claim against Newport Beach, saying a lifeguard ran over her last month with his truck.

City officials don't dispute her account.

"It happened," said City Atty. David Hunt. "The city really regrets that it happened, as do the lifeguards. The lifeguard was distracted, and it did occur.... The city recognizes that this shouldn't have happened and we'll make it right as best we can."

She is seeking $850,000.

About 12:50 p.m. Aug. 4, Janice Cola, 55, of Orange was relaxing in her beach chair reading a book on the sand at 54th Street and Seaside Drive, not far from a lifeguard truck, her attorney Jay Weitzler said.

As she read, a lifeguard truck nearby slowly turned right in the sand toward her and drove its front-right tire over her thighs, breaking her pelvis.

According to both sides, the lifeguard was distracted by surfers in the water. There was a blackball that day, meaning board surfers were prohibited in the water because of conditions.

The lifeguard drove to the area, stopping not far from Cola, and made a public announcement for the surfers to exit the water, according to the police report.

Read the full Daily Pilot story here.

-- Joseph Serna, Times Community News