NY pays $1.6M to bicyclist hit by trooper in Whitney Point after a Trial


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New York state has paid $1.6 million to a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was injured after being struck by a state trooper's vehicle while riding her bicycle in Whitney Point.

The trooper's car struck retired Maj. Mary-Margaret Smith, from Virginia, at 9:42 a.m. on July 5, 2010, while riding in the area of Liberty and Collins streets, according to police. She suffered head and facial injuries.

On Feb. 25, the state paid to resolve Smith's personal injury claim stemming from the accident and a trial in the Court of Claims, according to a news release Monday from her attorney, John Perticone, of Vestal.

"I was always confident in Major Smith's integrity and the validity of the case," Perticone said in a statement. "It was important to me that she receive a just decision."

Police had said Smith, then 47, entered into the path of the trooper's vehicle while riding her bicycle. But it was successfully demonstrated at trial that Smith never entered the intersection and the primary cause of the accident was the trooper's negligence, Perticone said.

Smith had been visiting family in Whitney Point for the Fourth of July weekend, according to Perticone.

Court papers say the trooper — he was not identified by name — was making a left turn onto Liberty Street but "cut the corner a little sharp" and hit Smith.

Police said she was thrown from her bicycle into the windshield of the trooper's vehicle. She was treated at UHS Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City.

In a statement Monday, Smith said this accident "turned my life upside down."

On Oct. 23, 2014, the state Appellate Division Third Department in Albany affirmed a 2013 verdict from the Court of Claims in Smith's favor.

Perticone said a second trial had been scheduled for Jan. 25 of this year to determine the extent of Smith's damages, but the state offered to settle the claim.

The settlement was approved by the New York State Comptroller's Office before the payment was made.