SAN DIEGO — A woman who was seriously injured after she was hit by a Waste Management San Diego vehicle is set to go to trial this fall with a lawsuit against the company seeking thousands in damages.
Deanna Beck, a former SeaWorld dolphin trainer and bartender, was hit by one of the company’s vehicles on Feb. 5, 2021 in the parking garage of her Mission Valley apartment complex in the 1600 block of Hotel Circle South.
At the time of the incident, a trash collection driver employed by Waste Management was working to clear one of the company’s dumpsters in the garage.
According to video surveillance, Beck attempted to cross the garage in a marked crosswalk behind the collection truck while it drove forward. As she walked, however, the driver set the truck into reverse, striking her with one of the metal arms on the vehicle’s rear.
Court documents allege that the driver was on the phone at the time he began backing up and did not see Beck in the crosswalk. Upon impact, she says the vehicle’s arm impaled her through the hip before throwing her back to the ground.
As a result of the the incident, Beck reported suffering injuries to her spine, neck and tailbone, as well as a traumatic brain injury that has caused neurological issues like seizures, memory loss, insomnia, hearing loss and vertigo.
During a press conference on Monday, her attorneys say these physical issues caused by the driver’s alleged negligence have cost her thousands of dollars in medical bills and her ability to return to work.
With the lawsuit, Beck is seeking an undetermined amount over $25,000 for damages as a result of these economic losses, according to the complaint.
“She’s tried to go back to work, but she can’t do that job anymore,” Beck’s attorney, John Gomez, said of her role at SeaWorld. “It’s obviously physically and mentally demanding.”
As far as her job as a bartender, another attorney for Beck, Corey Garrard, says she has rigorously attempted to maintain employment in that industry, but has had difficulty in jobs and has been fired multiple times for performance issues relating to her memory loss.
“She was a bartender for many, many years in downtown San Diego at a lot of the really popular bars,” Garrard explained Monday. “Within the first year of this incident, she was fired from a bartending job because she couldn’t figure out how to use the computers at the bar (and) couldn’t remember drinks when she went to a table.”
Waste Management San Diego, a subdivision of USA Waste of California, Inc., is one of the largest trash and recycling collection companies in San Diego and across California. According to its website, the company services more than 1.5 million residents in the state.
“If you’re in San Diego (and) you live in a condo or an apartment, you’re going to see these trucks right where you’re at,” Gomez said. “The point of this lawsuit is to protect all San Diegans from preventable incidents like this.”
In an emailed statement to FOX 5, a spokesperson for Waste Management San Diego said they were aware of the lawsuit, but would not comment on the litigation at this time.
The civil jury trial is set to begin on Oct. 13. A readiness conference is scheduled prior to that start date on Sept. 21 at 1:30 p.m.