Motorcyclist hurt in collision with Border Patrol vehicle awarded $5.4 million

SAN DIEGO - A motorcyclist injured five years ago in a collision with a Border Patrol vehicle was awarded $5.4 million in federal court, his lawyers said Monday.

John Hendrickson, a 50-year-old recording engineer, suffered injuries in the August 2009 crash that resulted in the amputation of his left leg and left him with migraine headaches. The Chula Vista man has difficulty using a prosthesis and needs ongoing therapy, according to attorney Robert Francavilla.

The lawyer said the driver of the Border Patrol vehicle sped around a blind curve on Otay Mesa Truck Trail and collided head-on with his client's motorcycle.

U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns found that the driver was going too fast for conditions and failed to yield the right-of-way, Francavilla said.

"During the five years of litigation leading up to the trial, the government denied responsibility for Hendrickson's injuries and refused to engage in settlement negotiations," Francavilla said. "This was a zero offer case heading into trial, and we are pleased justice has been served after all these years. The verdict acknowledges the responsibility the government has to do its job safely and protect the public."

It was unclear if the government planned to appeal the judgment.

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