An officer with the ASU Police Department was allegedly on his phone when he failed to stop at a stop sign and hit a man on a bike who was traveling through a crosswalk on Tyler Street at or near the intersection at McAllister Avenue last year, according to a lawsuit filed against the University, ASU PD and others on March 9.
According to the lawsuit, the officer was Michael Ybarra, who was "working within the course and scope of his employment" on March 11, 2021, when he "was using his cell phone, was distracted, and negligently failed to stop at a stop sign," resulting in him hitting the plaintiff, Siddhartha Verma.
"As a direct and proximate result of the negligent, reckless, and careless conduct of Defendant Ybarra, Plaintiff sustained injuries and damages," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit does not specify what type of physical injuries were sustained, but they "caused pain, suffering, distress, mental and emotional anguish and anxiety, loss of earnings, and a general decrease in the quality of life, some of which (may) be permanent, all in an amount to be proven at trial."
The lawsuit indicates Ybarra, his wife, who is unnamed, ASU, ASU PD, the Arizona Board of Regents, the City of Tempe and others as defendants.
The City of Tempe, the lawsuit alleges, "failed to provide adequate lighting and signage at or around the intersection of Tyler Street and McAllister Avenue," which led to the incident.
Verma's attorney, Michael Roberts, declined to comment on the case, as did spokespeople for ASU PD and the University, citing pending litigation.
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Wyatt Myskow is the project manager at The State Press, where he oversees enterprise stories for the publication. He also works at The Arizona Republic, where he covers the cities of Peoria and Surprise.