The defendant, an employee of Fairfax County, is entitled to sovereign immunity as to the plaintiff’s claim of simple negligence.
The suit arises from the plaintiff’s allegations that the defendant struck her with his vehicle while she was crossing an intersection as a pedestrian. The defendant, a heavy-equipment operator, was driving a county-owned front-end loader vehicle to collect garbage, within the scope of his employment.
Refuse collection is a traditional public function in service of the government’s strong interest in keeping the county clean and safe. Here, the defendant was on a route between designated trash pickup destinations at the direction of the County, using his judgment and discretion as to whether to continue collection or dump his load. Accordingly, the defendant is entitled to sovereign immunity for simple negligence.
Plea in bar sustained.