Solana Beach rejects legal claim over bicyclist’s death

Solana Beach City Hall
(Staff file photo)

The city of Solana Beach rejected a $10 million legal claim filed by the family of a bicyclist who was struck and killed by a suspected drunken driver last summer near the intersection of Highway 101 and Dahlia Drive.

The city’s notice to the family of the victim, 75-year-old Allen Hunter II, said that they have six months to pursue legal action in court. Submitting a legal claim with a government body is typically the first step in pursuing a lawsuit.

Hunter’s family said in the legal claim, which was received by the city on Jan. 4, that the amount they were asking for was based on “medical expenses, burial expenses, pain and suffering.”

“The collision location of the roadway was in a dangerous condition at the time of collision,” according to the legal claim. It went on to cite “improper and confusing signage,” “failure to separate bicycle lanes from traffic lanes” and “volume and speed on the roadway” among the factors that allegedly contributed to Hunter’s death.

The city sent its notice that the claim was being denied on Jan. 27.

The 21-year-old accused of driving drunk after fatally striking Hunter II was arraigned in Vista Superior Court on felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run causing death and two counts related to driving under the influence of alcohol, The Union-Tribune reported in October. He pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from the crash.

Hunter’s son, Allen Hunter III, said his dad “was upbeat, he was optimistic, he was caring, he was funny, he always had a dad joke,” according to an interview with the Union-Tribune from July 2021.