Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) – A devastating fall left a Baltimore City police officer fighting for her life. Now she’s suing the driver of the car whose actions she believes sent her flying to the ground below.
Mike Hellgren has her story.
Teresa Rigby’s dream was to be a police officer but she’s still not back on the job almost a year after the 20-foot fall. Her suit claims the driver should never have been behind the wheel.
At a rare public appearance last year, Officer Teresa Rigby broke down speaking about the fall from the JFX that nearly cost her her life.
“All the prayers really helped,” Rigby said.
This was the aftermath of the crash on June 21, 2011 when police say a Saab convertible slammed into her police cruiser. Rigby was between the cruiser and the jersey wall filling out paperwork when police say the Saab tried to pass a car and lost control, causing a chain reaction accident that sent her plunging over the side of the interstate.
While she survived, Rigby has yet to fully recover. She’s now filed a $15 million lawsuit, claiming the Saab driver, Robert Vanderford, was negligent. Police cited him for speeding, among other infractions.
“She was working one day filling out some reports and the next thing she knows, she woke up in Shock Trauma,” said her attorney Mitch Gordon.
Court records show Vanderford was driving on a suspended license at the time. The suit also names the car’s owner, saying he should have known Vanderford was not permitted to drive.
“Her life will be forever changed as a result of this and we will take whatever action we can on her behalf to try and make her as whole as possible,” Gordon said.
It could take a year for the civil suit to wind its way through the legal system. Vanderford will be in court to face the traffic infractions this week. Rigby continues on the long road to recovery.
WJZ did try to contact the defendant’s lawyer. He has not returned calls for comment and has declined to comment to WJZ’s media partner, the Baltimore Sun.
Rigby has undergone several surgeries and facial reconstruction. The suit seeks money to pay for her medical expenses and future lost wages.