The boy was just 14 when a Broward mass transit bus pulled away from its parked position while his hand was caught in the door. His mother watched in horror as the bus partially ran over her son.
Now, he’s an 18-year-old forever changed by that day. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that has rendered him permanently disabled. He suffers from neurocognitive disorder, adjustment disorder, auditory processing disorder, difficulty with speed and memory processing, deficits in motor dexterity and a number of physical limitations.
Recently, the county commissioners agreed to pay the family $850,000 in a settlement that will allow them to avoid trial. Of that amount, $300,000 will be paid immediately, as that is the maximum allowable under Florida’s sovereign immunity law. The rest, $550,000, would be paid by the county only if it’s approved by the state legislature, a process that could take years, though potentially made easier by the fact the county has agreed not to fight the claims bill, which has already been filed in the state Senate, but not yet in the House. The boy’s medical bills have already exceeded $650,000.
According to The Sun-Sentinel, court documents, witnesses and video of the horrific bus accident had been presented as evidence in the case. The teen and his mother were walking to the bus stop that Friday morning in May 2013 from their home in Pompano Beach. The boy was a student at Crystal Lake Middle School and his mother was walking him to school. As they got closer to the bus stop, the boy’s mother had an issue with her shoe and she fell to the ground. She instructed her son to run so he could catch the bus and not be late for school.
The boy caught up to the bus, and a passenger shouted to the driver that there were “runners coming.” The boy stuck his hand into the door, but the driver apparently didn’t see or hear the boy. The driver said he heard someone shout about the runner, but he wasn’t sure how he didn’t see or hear the boy. The driver closed the door and pulled away. There was a dispute between the boy’s family and the county as to whether the boy’s hand was stuck or whether he was simply holding onto the door and running alongside the bus as it started moving. In either case, the bus struck him and he only fell to the ground. At that point, passengers recalled feeling a “thump.”
The boy nearly died. He survived in a medically-induced coma, and missed more than a year of school. Personal injury lawyers say he continues to suffer debilitating injuries that will likely impede him for the rest of his life. He has no memory of the bus accident.
Driver, meanwhile, was suspended without pay for half a month. He was also demoted from bus operator to service attendant, assigned to clean the buses and service them as needed. However, the driver appealed that demotion and was later returned to driving duty, which he continues to do now.
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Broward settles case of teen run over by bus, Jan. 24, 2017, By Brittany Wallman, Sun-Sentinel
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