All drivers in Ocala should know that they must operate their vehicles in such a way as to avoid causing unreasonable risks of harm to others on the road. This is true regardless of the driver’s age or experience behind the wheel. Even law enforcement officers must follow this standard of care toward the safety of others.
A recent car accident on Interstate 75 involved both young age and law enforcement. For starters, the accident was caused by a driver who was just 20 years old. Moreover, that driver was a member of the Florida Highway Patrol.
The 20-year-old trooper was parked on the northbound side of I-75. He pulled out of the stop and moved across three lanes of traffic before making a U-turn at a median in the highway. When the trooper made the U-turn, he was driving at roughly 34 miles-per-hour and lost control of the cruiser.
The patrol car hit a guard rail and then headed into oncoming traffic and struck a car that was driven by the mother of three young children. That impact then started a chain reaction crash that involved a semi-truck and a fourth car.
Sadly, all three children were in the back seat of the car that was hit by the patrol car. One of them, a two-year-old boy, suffered brain injury from the accident. The five-year-old and the mother also suffered injuries in the accident. The woman is seeking compensation from the state for her injuries and those to her children.
Car accidents like this one are preventable; the trooper should have slowed down before attempting to make a U-turn. The fact that he was a member of law enforcement or that he only had his driver’s license for three years is no excuse for his failure to drive safely.
Victims of negligent or reckless drivers have rights to pursue monetary compensation for their damages, regardless of the age or profession of the driver who caused the accident.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, “State trooper ticketed following four-car crash that left 3 young Orlando boys in critical condition,” Rene Stutzman, Oct. 6, 2014