Washington City Responsible For Man’s Death While Crossing Street, Says Family’s Lawsuit

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Thousands of cars and countless joggers and bicyclists pass the spot daily where a Richland restaurateur was hit and killed by a car two years ago.

His family says that piece of the Urban Green Belt Trail is dangerous and the city is to blame for his death.

Wai Mon “Raymond” Chin’s family is seeking undisclosed damages from the city, claiming there is a lack of signs and a crosswalk at the spot where the popular path crosses Van Giesen Street, just off Highway 240.

Richland is not responsible for the death of an elderly restaurant and nightclub owner who was struck and killed crossing Van Giesen Street in 2016.

A Benton County jury rejected a wrongful death claim by the estate of Wai Mon “Raymond” Chin in a verdict returned Tuesday.

City officials were pleased the jury agreed the city was not negligent.

“We found the jury that heard closing arguments to be exceedingly attentive,” said Amanda Bley, an attorney for Freimund Jackson & Tardif. The Olympia- and Seattle-based law firm teamed with Richland City Attorney Heather Kintzley to defend Richland.

Chin, 83, was walking along the shelter belt trail that parallels the bypass highway when he was hit by a Honda Accord while crossing Van Giesen.

He was hit somewhere between the unmarked trail crossing and Birch Street.

Conditions were dark and rainy, and police reports stated that the wet road reflected headlights back into the eyes of the driver, Brenda Nelson.

She was not cited and later settled with the Chin family.

Chin was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center with severe head and pelvic injuries. He died in the intensive care unit on Feb. 14, 2016.

Chin, originally from Hong Kong, arrived in the Tri-Cities in 1956 by way of Seattle to work as a cook. He established Ray’s Golden Lion at Uptown Shopping Center in 1963, operating it as a restaurant by day and as a night spot on weekends.

In its heyday, Ray’s Golden Lion attracted big names to Richland — Frank Sinatra Jr., Ike and Tina Turner, Meatloaf and Tiny Tim. The business was evicted in 2015.

The Chin estate, represented by his son, Stanley Chin, sought $5 million from the city, claiming the unmarked, unlit stretch of Van Giesen was unreasonably dangerous.

The city rejected the claim. The estate sued for unspecified damages in September 2016. The two-week trial was held in May in Benton County Superior Court with Judge Sam Swanberg presiding.

The Chin family was represented by Telquist Ziobro McMillen Clark, a Richland law firm. Representatives were not available Tuesday to comment on whether they plan to appeal.

Resource: tri-cityherald.com

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