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Cop hit on detail files suit: Officer, wife seek $25K from unlicensed driver, car owner

By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

SALEM — The Salem police officer struck and seriously injured last month by an illegal alien is suing her and the owner of the car.

Michael Shea and his wife, Melissa, are seeking damages of at least $25,000 from the driver, 22-year-old Nilma Goncalves Figueredo, an unlicensed driver, and the car's owner, Lizete Faria, a local resident.

Figueredo, a Brazilian who originally told police she was 17-year-old Leila Lopes, was at the wheel of Faria's Honda Accord when it hit Shea, who was directing traffic around a work site on Tremont Street in Peabody on April 13.

Shea was knocked unconscious by the impact, which sent him airborne. He landed on a sidewalk, hitting his head on a curb. His injuries included a head wound and a broken leg. He is recovering at home but will be out of work for months, lawyers for the couple said in court papers.

The complaint was filed yesterday in Salem Superior Court.

Figueredo is already facing criminal charges of driving to endanger and driving without a license. She is in the custody of immigration officials in Suffolk County pending a deportation hearing.

Lawsuits are not unusual after a traffic accident where there have been injuries, though they usually are not filed so soon after the crash. Typically, an injured driver starts by making a claim on the insurance policy covering the car.

Peabody police said it appears Faria's car was registered and insured at the time of the crash.

A message left at the Norwood law firm representing the Sheas, Ballin and Associates, was not returned yesterday afternoon.

Faria has been cited for allowing an improper person to drive her car, Peabody police Detective Michael Crane said yesterday. Faria was cited because Figueredo, who had been in the country just 10 days before the crash, does not have a driver's license.

The maximum penalty Faria faces for letting Figueredo use her car is a $35 fine.

Crane said police reports do not indicate why Figueredo was driving Faria's car the night of the accident, or whether Faria knew she was unlicensed.

Faria's address is listed on her driver's license as 5 King St., Apt. 1, Salem. There was no answer at the door of either apartment in the building yesterday, and the first-floor apartment appeared to be vacant.

Staff writer Andrew Hickey contributed to this report
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