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Every time Ling Murray bends her sore left arm, a metal plate bulges underneath the skin.

And when her husband drives home through the crosswalk where she was gravely injured and their 2-year-old daughter killed more than one year ago, Jeff Murray finds himself honking, powering down the window and yelling for fear another pedestrian will be struck.

There is no end in sight for Ling Murray's physical rehabilitation or the waves of grief over their daughter's death, the Murrays have said.

But they've decided to drop a lawsuit against the city of Rohnert Park that alleged the crosswalk was unsafe and contributed to their daughter's death.

And they also have decided not to file a civil lawsuit against the driver, 19-year-old Kaitlyn Dunaway, a Sonoma State University sophomore.

"We have to move on," Jeff Murray said.

The lives of two Rohnert Park families were irreparably altered Dec. 1, 2010 when the 1997 Honda Civic that Dunaway was driving plowed through the crosswalk bridging Snyder Lane at Medical Center Drive.

Ling Murray was holding her daughter's hand as the pair headed home after playing at Sunrise Park.

Dunaway looked down to text message a friend and was in the middle of typing "almost there" when she crashed into Murray and her child, prosecutors said.

Today, Jeff Murray still feels the crosswalk is a hazard on the busy thoroughfare that could lure another family into tragedy.

The Murrays alleged the city was liable for creating dangerous conditions in a Dec. 1 filing in Sonoma County Superior Court.

Jeff Murray said their aim was to force the city to take every step possible to make sure the crosswalk was safe for children that walk to neighborhood schools.

The city added a sign and fresh paint. Murray said that isn't enough.

"They'd be able to fill their budget quickly for all these tickets for people not yielding to pedestrians and people talking on the phone while driving down the street," Murray said.

The Murrays were to notify the court who would represent them within 30 days of a Dec. 7 letter from the court clerk.

However, that date passed and Murray said they couldn't find an attorney to take the case and decided they couldn't afford the legal costs.

"I don't want to say we're in the poor house, but we're not far from it," said Murray, who is unemployed. Medi-Cal and Dunaway's insurance company are paying medical costs.

A Rohnert Park Public Safety Department report that found Ling Murray at fault also influenced their decision, Murrady said.

"The police basically said my wife and daughter jumped out in front of the driver," Murray said. "You've got to be kidding me, even after the driver admitted the texting?"

Dunaway's attorney Chris Andrian said he thought the Murrays could have won in a suit against the city.

The crosswalk "jumps out at you, it's not well lit," Andrian said.

"But there are times being a plaintiff, even if you win, it's not rewarding," Andrian said.

Dunaway hasn't spoken publicly about the crash.

She served a five-day sentence at the Sonoma County Jail for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and was released New Year's Eve. She must also serve 115 days on electronic home confinement, and Andrian said they were still arranging with a judge when that would start.

She's continued classes at Sonoma State University and was lining up 200 hours of community service required by the court, he said.

Andrian said Dunaway needs to move on as well.

"She's a very humble and shy girl," Andrian said. "She has to get away from the media scrutiny. This was pretty overwhelming for her."

William Robertson, dean of Santa Rosa's Empire College School of Law, said personal injury cases can take years.

"For most people it's completely a balancing act between the emotional rigors and the potential financial gain," Robertson said. "There are lots of people who would pursue it because of the principles involved."

The family of a 16-year-old Sebastopol girl are one-and-a-half years into a lawsuit against city and state agencies alleging officials failed to fix a crosswalk known to be dangerous.

Julia Bertoli suffered a traumatic brain injury July 3, 2009 when she was struck in the crossing where another person had been injured.

The family's attorney, David Rouda, said "this crosswalk that Julia was in was a trap, an accident waiting to happen, and the state and city knew that."

Low tree branches and parked cars obstructed drivers' views. The angle of the crosswalk meant pedestrians had their back to westbound oncoming traffic, Rouda said.

Citizens pushed the city to make changes to the crosswalk. City officials have said tight budgets have held up the effort.

"These lawsuits take a lot of time, they take a lot of money and they take a lot of work," Rouda said. "But the reason they take so much work is because these are lawsuits that are trying to make big changes in the way cities operate and the way states operate."

Murray said he and his wife wanted some good to follow Calli's death.

For now, they are focusing on reshaping their lives.

They aim to promote what they're calling Calli's Law among state lawmakers, which would put phone use while driving a felony on par with intoxication.

Jeff Murray continues to look for permanent work. Ling Murray still attends rehabilitation programs most weekdays.

"My concern is not restitution; my concern is my wife," Murray said.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com.

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