Competitive cyclist hit by bus sues Imperial Pacific, bus driver

An experienced competitive cyclist is suing the Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC and its bus driver over the injuries he suffered when the bus’ side mirror allegedly struck him while he was doing a cycle ride on Beach Road, Saipan last November.

Noe Valdisimo, 49, through counsel Stephen J. Nutting, has sued Imperial Pacific International and its bus driver, Roel Wabol, for negligence.

Valdisimo asked the Superior Court to hold the defendants liable to pay him damages and court costs for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, medical care and expenses. He demanded a jury trial.

Asked for comments yesterday, Imperial Pacific International said the company is concerned about the safety of others when its vehicles operate upon the road and streets.

Imperial Pacific said the company expects its employees to obey the traffic laws of the CNMI and properly operate its vehicles in a safe manner for the protection of employees, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists.

“IPI is aware of the lawsuit and has referred the matter to its attorneys and insurer. Because the matter is now under litigation, IPI has to defer making further comment,” IPI said in its press statement.

According to Nutting in the complaint, on Nov. 18, 2017, Valdisimo began his normal cycle ride at 6am and started in the south and began heading north on Beach Road.

Nutting said Valdisimo, a competitive cyclist, was wearing a protective cycle-specific helmet on his head.

Nutting said Valdisimo remained safely on the right-hand side of the highway on the outermost right lane as Beach Road does not contain a designated path for bicycles.

The lawyer said the cyclist had operational safety lights on both the front and the rear of his bike.

On that same morning, Wabol was allegedly on duty as a bus driver for Imperial Pacific and was driving the company’s bus on the highway.

Between 6am and 6:04am, the bus’ side mirror allegedly struck Valdisimo on Beach Road in front of Joeten Motors Co.

Nutting said Valdisimo was struck with a tremendous force, throwing him from his bicycle and causing injuries and damages.

As a result of the collision, Nutting said, plaintiff suffered significant physical injuries, such as road rash abrasions on the chest, lower back, right knee, and injuries to the right shoulder, spine, and ribs.

The lawyer said the cyclist suffered damage to personal property such as a broken cell phone, a broken cycle specific helmet, and a broken bicycle.

Nutting said Wabol breached his duty to exercise due care when he was driving the bus to overtake and pass Valdisimo’s bicycle that was heading in the same direction.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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