RTD to settle spectacular light rail crash for $60,000

Money will come from taxpayer funds
Posted at 3:43 PM, Apr 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-24 20:49:29-04

DENVER – RTD has agreed to pay a woman $60,000 after a light rail train crashed into her car and destroyed it, according to the woman’s lawyer.

RTD’s train conductor initially lied and blamed driver Tia Mills, a Denver7 Investigation showed. Video footage produced later showed the eye-popping collision at Park Avenue and Welton Street on June 30, 2017. 

“It was one of those things where you're like, ‘I can't believe this is happening to me.’ Then I thought, ‘I'm dead,’” Mills told investigative reporter Jace Larson in February.

Weeks after surviving the crash, Mills was surprised to receive a traffic ticket in the mail saying she ran a red light. 

“I was sure I entered on a yellow light. I had not run a red light,” Mills said.

She hired a lawyer, who sent a request to RTD for all of the agency’s video of the incident.

RTD rejected the request on Aug. 2, even though Denver Police Department records obtained by Denver7 Investigates show police concluded their investigation on July 22.  

Mills managed to obtain video from a Denver police overhead security camera, called Halo, to prove the crash was the train driver’s fault in October.

At that point, her attorneys submitted another request for RTD’s video. The agency again rejected the request, citing an ongoing investigation that at that point had been closed for months. 

It wasn’t until Tia’s attorney threatened to take RTD to court that the agency produced the video. 

“It simply is not fair. Especially when Tia Mills wants to know the truth,” said Mills’ attorney, Lorraine Parker.

Mills sued RTD, seeking damages for the cost of her destroyed car. 

Court documents show RTD offered the $60,000 settlement and Parker says her client has agreed to the settlement.

RTD Communications Assistant General Manager Scott Reed said he could not comment on the settlement, but indicated tax-payer money would be used to pay.

“RTD is self-insured against personal injury cases, so payments of personal injury settlements arising from RTD operated service typically are from RTD funds, which include tax revenues,” Reed told Denver7 Investigates.