On July 10, a Miami-Dade circuit judge sentenced a former Miami Beach, Florida, police officer to 18 months in prison for his role in an ATV accident that seriously injured two people. The case against the defendant stems from his conviction last month for reckless driving with serious bodily injury. According to court documents, the defendant was joyriding on the beach while wearing his police uniform and driving a police all-terrain vehicle when he struck two people who were visiting the beach.
Court documents reveal that the former officer was accompanied on the ATV by a woman from a bachelorette party which was being held nearby. Prosecutors had also sought DUI charges after it was learned that the defendant’s blood alcohol levels exceeded Florida’s 0.08 legal limit. The jury acquitted the man of DUI charges. Perhaps that decision was influenced by another DUI test provided by the defense that showed the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration within legal limits five hours after the crash.
During the sentencing hearing, the judge said the defendant demonstrated wanton disregard for the safety of others through his actions. She said that she had taken into consideration evidence that the defendant had engaged in drinking and driving despite the fact the jury failed to find the defendant guilty of that specific charge.
The two victims of the accident said that they had gone to the beach to watch the sunrise at the ocean’s edge when the accident occurred. One of the victim suffered a shattered leg, while the other victim’s injuries were more extensive. That victim suffered brain injuries that have made it impossible for her to work. She still remains traumatized by the accident and is still struggling to care for her child. She likened her new condition as being that of a child trapped in the body of an adult.
Victims who suffer with brain injuries often undergo traumatic and painful changes in their lifestyles which may be permanent. Victims may have to undergo extensive long-term rehabilitation in order to regain certain functions once taken for granted. Then there is the suffering of the victims’ loved ones. Victims need to know that depending on circumstances, they may be entitled to recover monetary damages for those losses.
Source: Naples Daily News, “Ex-officer sentenced to 18 months in ATV crash” Kelly Kennedy, Jul. 13, 2014