News

Lawsuit filed against driver who struck 6-year-old twins

Menlo Park boy returns home after five weeks in hospital

A Menlo Park family has filed a lawsuit against the driver of a car that reportedly jumped a curb and pinned two 6-year-old twin brothers against a wall near Walgreen's on Santa Cruz Avenue.

The Oct. 17 crash left one boy in critical condition. After multiple surgeries, he was released from Stanford Hospital following a five-week stay, according to police. His twin sustained a broken arm.

According to the lawsuit, the Cadigan twins and their 9-year-old brother were walking along Santa Cruz Avenue when a BMW SUV with the license plate "EN ESQ" jumped across the sidewalk, striking the twins.

The lawsuit identifies the driver as Edward Nelson of Woodside. Police had withheld his name since no criminal charges had been filed; at the time of the accident, the 90-year-old man's license was confiscated and he was ordered to schedule an examination within five business days with the DMV, or risk suspension of his license.

Police Cmdr. Dave Bertini said he didn't know whether Mr. Nelson followed through.

"Once we do the initial paperwork for the suspension pending a retest of a driver, it is then out of our hands and goes to the DMV Office of Driver Safety. That entire process is administrative in nature, not criminal and does not involve the police department unless the officer that issued the priority re-examination form needed to answer any questions for the DMV," he said.

As Mr. Nelson held a valid license and wasn't under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at the time of the accident, he faces only an infraction. Investigators have completed their work and sent the case to the District Attorney's Office, which will decide whether to file a charge for driving on the sidewalk, according to Cmdr. Bertini.

Filed in San Mateo County Superior Court on Nov. 14, the lawsuit seeks punitive as well as general damages on behalf of all three boys for their injuries, which range from multiple, extensive skin grafts and damage to the lower body; orthopedic and soft-tissue damage to the upper body; and emotional trauma. The filing states that the injuries may be permanent.

Mr. Nelson declined to comment, saying it would be inappropriate given the pending lawsuit.

He graduated from Stanford Law School and was licensed to practice law from 1957 to 2001, according to the California State Bar.

The Cadigan family is represented by Michael Kelly and Valerie Rose of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, located in San Francisco.

A case management conference has been scheduled for March 2014.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

The three boys? I thought it was twins. Isn't that two not three??


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm

"According to the lawsuit, the Cadigan twins and their 9-year-old brother were walking along Santa Cruz Avenue..."

The twins were hit; their older brother witnessed the accident.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by best wishes to the victims
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 26, 2013 at 6:35 pm

This is such a sad case. Small children should not have to go through this kind of pain. I hope that the injured children are making a full recovery and won't need any more surgery. I hope that the driver is paying their full medical and rehab expenses even without the lawsuit.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm

This is an unfortunate accident for everyone and my heart goes out to the family. That being said, on what basis is the family filing a lawsuit? Mr. Nelson has to live with this. The bigger issue is with the state and I find a personal lawsuit against Mr. Nelson to be very unfortunate. This was an accident. It would be more productive for citizens to focus on changing the laws to require a mandatory annual driving test for the elderly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2013 at 8:22 pm

This lawsuit is likely a necessity and I'm sure on some level Nelson understands that, [portion removed]. Hopefully, his driving days are indeed over and he gets help from friends or family for his appointments, shopping, errands, etc.

Godspeed to all of the Cadigans. I've been thinking about them a lot, as the holidays approach.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 27, 2013 at 7:12 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

neighbor:

this was not an "accident." An accident is when something happens that is beyond anyone's control. This was improper operation of a vehicle by someone that most likely shouldn't have been behind the wheel in the first place. That's the basis for the lawsuit. Negligence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by javaplace
a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2013 at 2:34 pm

javaplace is a registered user.

In fact, note that The Almanac itself calls it a "crash" (second paragraph), not an "accident". Menlo Voter has it precisely correct. I would also add that unless civil action is taken, Mr. ESQ would only be charged with "driving on the sidewalk",should the DA decide to take action - a ridiculous charge considering the harm, including what I suspect will be permanent scarring, he caused.

I think the law has a long ways to go when it comes to charging drivers for the personal harm, including death, they cause - unless they are "driving under the influence" or they "flee the scene". A good read on Planetizen.com:
"Death By Auto: Are They Always Accidents?" (Web Link)


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