The family of a 55-year-old Brooklyn Center woman argues she wouldn’t have been fatally struck by a car while crossing the street if not for poor lighting and an improperly maintained crosswalk.

Almost three years to the day after Alberta Geist was hit by a car at Osseo Road and 49th Avenue N. on the border of Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center, her family is suing those cities, Hennepin County and the state Department of Transportation for failing to maintain the crosswalk and lighting before the fatal incident on Dec. 20, 2013.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed this week in Hennepin County District Court, accuses the parties of negligence and argues it had a “direct and proximate result” — Geist’s severe injuries. She later died at a hospital.

The lawsuit, which asks for more than $50,000 in damages, says the painted crosswalk lines were incomplete, faded or nonexistent; that visibility was poor because of improperly maintained lighting; and that the crossing signal didn’t give pedestrians enough time to cross Osseo Road, also known as Hwy. 152.

The family’s attorney, Kathy K. Smith, declined to comment Wednesday, as did officials with the cities, MnDOT and Hennepin County.

Geist was crossing the intersection just a couple of blocks from where she lived about 9:30 p.m. when she was struck by an 18-year-old woman driving northwest on Osseo Road. The driver told Minneapolis police that she didn’t see the woman, who was short and wearing a dark red coat.

The driver continued down the road for another 110 feet as she and a passenger wondered if they had hit someone or something.

According to court documents, Geist had left a Cub Foods store in Brooklyn Center on a bus to visit a family member in Minneapolis. The bus dropped her off on the side of Osseo Road and she started to cross the road when she was struck by the car.

Osseo Road has four lanes and carries nearly 11,000 daily vehicle trips. The county noted in 2014 that the intersection is poorly marked and lacks pedestrian lighting.

The lawsuit names Geist’s daughter, Donna, as the plaintiff; Geist also was survived by a son and four grandchildren. She was one of 21 pedestrians who were killed in Minnesota in 2013. So far this year, according to state data, more than 30 pedestrians have died.


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