Bicyclist hit by Huntsville Police officer in 2022 sues City of Huntsville, Madison County Sheriff’s Office among others

Willard Mann, 37 was critically injured while he was pushing his bicycle at night across Hwy. 231/431 near Kinnard Mill Rd. on Aug. 30, 2022.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 10:14 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A Madison County man who was hit by a police car while riding his bicycle last year is now suing multiple defendants including the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Huntsville.

Willard Mann, 37 was critically injured while he was pushing his bicycle at night across Hwy. 231/431 near Kinnard Mill Rd. on Aug. 30, 2022. He was hit by a Huntsville Police Department officer who was on their way in to work.

Officials at the time said the officer was not at fault and was not placed on administrative leave.

According to court documents, Mann was being detained by a Madison County deputy moments before he was hit by the Huntsville Police officer. It was noted by the deputy that Mann did not have on reflective clothing or lighting devices on his bicycle.

He was then let go and was told not to ride his bike and to go straight home. Moments later the deputy heard the call over the radio that Mann had been hit. His argument is that the deputy was negligent by allowing Mann to get back on the roadway with his bicycle without the proper reflective gear.

The court documents revealed the injuries Mann sustained in the accident including: broken ribs, a broken backbone, broken right shoulder, a skull-based fracture causing permanent brain trauma, a rod being inserted into his right leg and a punctured lung.

Mann went on the argue in court documents that the officer who hit him and other defendants violated the following statutes of the State of Alabama:

  • Reckless Driving - Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving
  • Reasonable and prudent speed - No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. Consistent with the foregoing, every person shall drive at a safe and appropriate speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and crossing, when approaching or going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather.
  • Drivers to exercise care - Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter or the provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.

Mann also listed Bicycle Corporation of America, LLC (BCA) and Kent International (Kent) as defendants in the lawsuit as they are the largest and second largest bicycle manufacturer, respectively. The bike Mann was operating that night was a 29″ BCA SC29 Terrain Bike. .

Mann claims the manufacturers were negligent by failing to comply with the following statute of the State of Alabama:

  • Lamps and other equipment on bicycles
    • (i) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the department which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
    • (ii) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

He also claimed that they violated the statutes of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

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