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Mom Hurt When Car Hit Staten Island Home Plans to Sues City for $20M

By Nicholas Rizzi | December 26, 2012 2:53pm

TOTTENVILLE — The woman who was seriously injured in September when a car plowed into her Tottenville apartment plans to sue the city for $20 million.

Lisa Micciulla-Roman, 40, and her daughter Leonora, 5, were sleeping on a couch when an out-of-control Hyundai Elantra blasted into their kitchen at 4509 Arthur Kill Road on September 28.

Leonora suffered skull and eye-socket fractures as well as multiple lacerations, while Micciulla-Roman had burns requiring skin grafts and two surgeries, the Staten Island Advance reported.

Micciulla-Roman has filed a notice of claim of $20 million against the city, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Design and Construction for allegedly failing to maintain the roadways and intersection, the Advance reported.

Previously, a monster pickup truck crashed into the home in August 2002, narrowly missing a 62-year-old resident, the Advance said.

"It's incredible to me that the same type of accident — at the same location and involving the same house — happened 10 years ago," Jonathan D'Agostino, Micciulla-Roman's attorney, told the paper.

"The city knew this was a dangerous situation, and instead of taking adequate precautions, they chose to take the path of least cost."

Micciulla-Roman suffered severe injuries, including multiple fractures and burns that required painful skin grafts and surgery, the Advance said.

D'Agostino told the paper that a metal guardrail could have prevented Micciulla-Roman's injuries. The city installed signs telling drivers they must turn left or right at the intersection of Arthur Kill Road and Lee Avenue after the 2002 crash, but D'Agostino said it's difficult for drivers to see the sign.

"If a driver misses the stop sign [at the intersection], he isn't seeing the city's sign until it's too late," D'Agostino told the paper.

The notice of claim is the first step in the process to sue the city. In it, Micciulla-Roman alleges that the city and the agencies failed to properly maintain the roadways for vehicles in a safe manor and they were negligent by failing to design, construct and maintain the intersection to commonly accepted principals, the Advance said.

The home, owned by Albert Calascione, had more than two dozen complaints filed against it in the last two decades, according to Department of Buildings records.

It was originally zoned to be a three apartment walkup building, but had been refashioned to fit four, records show. The extension where Micciulla-Roman lived was originally zoned to be used as a store, but was converted into two smaller apartments, records and neighbors said.

Charles Trainor, 22, who lives about a block away on Lee Avenue, was behind the wheel of the 2010 Hyundai Elantra when the it veered off Arthur Kill Road and careened about 8 yards into the house a little after 4 p.m., police said.

Trainor was charged with three counts of vehicular assault, two counts of second-degree assault, and is accused of driving while intoxicated.

The city Law Department told the Advance that it would “review any claims related to this matter on receipt.”