MTA Pays 3 Mil For Bus Drag
A Far Rockaway woman who was badly injured after being dragged by a city bus along Seagirt Boulevard in 2009 is getting a $3 million settlement from the MTA after a surprise witness, who saw a flyer the woman’s family had posted, came forward as a witness to the incident, quickly ending her civil lawsuit just as a jury was getting ready to come up with a verdict, city law sources say.
“After three years, I couldn’t believe it,” Crystal Wright-Johnson, 32, told New York Post reporter Christina Carrega, about the 11th-hour appearance of witness Daniel Zorrilla, who supported her testimony about the terrifying incident.
At a trial that began two weeks ago in Queens Supreme Court, Wright-Johnson and her husband described how she was dragged down the street after the doors of the Q22 bus abruptly closed on her as she boarded at Seagirt Boulevard and Beach 22 Street on May 16, 2009.
Her husband was already on the bus when his wife got caught in the door,
Records show that Wright-Johnson suffered shoulder and neck injuries, and underwent multiple surgeries to repair three herniated discs.
At trial, bus driver Tze Cheng told jurors the accident never even happened.
And, according to the Post story, until April, Wright-Johnson’s lawyers had no witnesses other than her and her husband — both with a financial stake in her suit. They posted 1,500 fliers, mostly along the bus route and especially along Seagirt Boulevard, seeking witnesses.
“I remembered it, and I called,” Zorrilla testified. “The lady put her foot on the platform,” Zorrilla told jurors. “The door closed on her. My heart started beating. I looked at the driver, and the bus jerked . . . He saw someone in the doors [and] at that point, released [the door].”
After hearing that, jurors last week found the MTA at fault — and were hearing testimony to determine money damages.
That’s when the MTA quickly settled.