Tamar Monhait’s family seeks $10 million from garbage truck company


Still from surveillance video.

As reported last month by The Oregonian, Tamar Monhait’s family has filed a lawsuit with the company responsible for the garbage truck operator who hit and killed her.

In the early morning hours of August 21st, 41-year-old Monhait was biking north on Southeast Water Avenue at Taylor when the truck operator made a left turn in front of her. She died at the scene from the impact.

Monhait’s lawyers allege that the left turn by the garbage truck driver is the result of improper training by his employer, Republic Services Alliance Group. They’re asking for up to $10 million in damages.

The suit claims that the intersection is well lit and that Monhait was “lawfully riding her bicycle… in a designated bike lane.”

As we shared back in August, the collision was captured by a surveillance camera mounted on a nearby building (Water Avenue Coffee on Taylor).

In that video you can see what appears to be a flashing rear light on Monhait’s bicycle. The truck driver and Monhait collide about half-way through the intersection.

The police haven’t issued any citations in the case because the investigation is still pending with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office. We’ve been told that the DA’s office will have a decision about any possible criminal charges by the end of this month.

The case is likely to hinge on how bright the intersection was at the time of the collision, the mental state of the truck driver leading up to the collision, and whether or not the DA feels the driver was able to see Monhait prior to making the left turn.

The surveillance video makes the intersection appear relatively well-lit. However, a video made by a BikePortland commenter at the same time of night as the collision makes it look much darker. Monhait doesn’t appear to have a front light on her bicycle (as required by Oregon law) and the video cuts off the full movement of the truck prior to the collision.

We’ll follow-up with the DA’s office later in the month to get their final analysis.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.