Midgen sued over traffic incident

The driver of the vehicle hit by Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, last year has sued for personal injury and property damage.

The lawsuit was filed in Solano County Court last Friday by Ellen Butawan. In a widely-publicized incident, Migden rear-ended Butawan last May 18 while driving her state-provided 2007 Toyota Highlander. According to news reports, Butawan, the 32 year-old wife of a California Highway Patrol officer, went to the ER with minor head injuries, while her daughter Leila suffered chest abrasions.

Butawan was waiting at a light on Highway 12 in Fairfield when she was hit, propelling her Honda into another vehicle.

At least half a dozen people called 911 to report the Migden driving erratically while talking on a cell phone shortly before the incident, which occurred just before 11 a.m. At least one caller indicated Migden had also hit a guardrail. Migden later said that she was reaching for her ringing cell phone when the accident occurred. Days later, Migden said she had battled Leukemia for ten years, and said that her medication sometimes disoriented her.

Calls to Migden's Senate reelection campaign and to Butawan's attorney were not immediately  returned.

Migden is currently engaged in a bitter reelection fight against two members of her own party: Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and former Assemblyman Joe Nation, whose Marin-based seat that overlaped with part of Migden's district.

In March, Migden sued the Fair Political Practices Commission, seeking to gain access to $400,000 in older campaign funds that the agency ruled she could not use in her current campaign. The FPPC countersued Migden for $9 million, claiming a pattern of flouting campaign finance laws. She also agreed to pay a $350,000 that month relating to campaign spending disclosure problems between 2003 and 2007.

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