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Family of cyclist killed in Back Bay last year sues truck driver

A ghost bike was left at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street following the death of Dr. Anita Kurmann, who was killed by truck there.
A ghost bike was left at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street following the death of Dr. Anita Kurmann, who was killed by truck there. David L Ryan/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

The family of a Swiss cyclist who was killed by a truck in August at the busy intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street filed a civil suit Thursday against the truck driver and his company, alleging that the death was caused by carelessness and negligence.

The suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, names Matthew Levari of Vineland, N.J., as the driver whose flatbed truck collided with Dr. Anita Kurmann, a 38-year-old endocrine surgeon who worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston University.

The truck, loaded with steel and owned by Matthew Levari & Sons, apparently had been making a right turn onto Beacon Street when it collided with Kurmann about 7 a.m. on Aug. 7. The death stunned Boston’s cycling community and co-workers at the labs where Kurmann worked on transforming embryonic stem cells into thyroid tissue.

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Nine months later, the investigation into the fatal collision continues, and Kurmann’s father and two siblings are still seeking answers from authorities.

“The family has been frustrated in its efforts to obtain information,” said Ronald Gluck, a Boston attorney who represents the family.

Gluck said the family, for example, has not been able to obtain a video from the city-operated camera at the busy intersection, which has gained a reputation as the most dangerous in the city for cyclists.

“The family understands and respects the need for a thorough and complete investigation,” Gluck said. “At the same time, the family feels that they should be able to receive certain details of the incident, including the video, which is a public record, they believe.”

Dr. Anita Kurmann.
Dr. Anita Kurmann.File

The family is seeking a trial by jury, which would determine whether any financial damages are warranted. The amount of an award would be left to the discretion of the jury, Gluck said.

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office and Boston police. Jake Wark, a spokesman for District Attorney Daniel Conley, said he could not predict when the review would be completed and a decision reached on whether to file criminal charges.

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“The crash reconstruction report is still pending,” Wark said. The report will compile the analysis of crash experts, as well as witness statements and other evidence, he added.

For his part, Gluck asked that witnesses contact his office with any information about what they saw when Kurmann was struck and killed.

“At this point, that is the only way we will obtain the details of how this happened,” he said.

Kurmann, who biked often, had moved to Cambridge shortly before her death. She had been planning to return to Switzerland within weeks.


Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at brian.macquarrie@globe.com.