Florida Senate - 2016 (NP) SB 22 By Senator Montford 3-00120A-16 201622__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act for the relief of Angela Sanford by Leon 3 County; providing for an appropriation to compensate 4 her for injuries and damages sustained as a result of 5 the negligence of an employee of Leon County; 6 providing that certain payments and the appropriation 7 satisfy all present and future claims related to the 8 negligent act; providing a limitation on the payment 9 of compensation, fees, and costs; providing an 10 effective date. 11 12 WHEREAS, on September 5, 2013, Angela Sanford was a belted 13 front-seat passenger in a car that was traveling on a green 14 light through the intersection of West Tharpe Street and North 15 Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard in Tallahassee, Florida, and 16 WHEREAS, at the same time, a Leon County ambulance operated 17 by Leon County employee Benjamin Hunter entered the intersection 18 despite a red light displayed on the traffic signal, which was 19 clearly visible the entire time Mr. Hunter approached the 20 intersection, and 21 WHEREAS, the ambulance broadsided the passenger’s side of 22 the car in which Angela Sanford was traveling in and struck the 23 passenger side door at a speed in excess of 40 miles per hour, 24 and 25 WHEREAS, Mr. Hunter failed to operate his ambulance in a 26 reasonably safe manner and conducted himself in direct violation 27 of the Leon County Emergency Medical Services Standard Operating 28 Guideline, which specifically requires all emergency vehicles to 29 come to a full and complete stop at a red light, and 30 WHEREAS, although Mr. Hunter later claimed that the light 31 was yellow, the video from the ambulance’s onboard camera 32 clearly showed that the light was red for the entire 8 seconds 33 of the video, and 34 WHEREAS, the investigation conducted by the Leon County 35 Sheriff’s Office concluded that Mr. Hunter was the sole person 36 at fault in the accident, and 37 WHEREAS, Mr. Hunter also admitted, and the evidence showed, 38 that fences, trees, and buildings at the corner of the 39 intersection blocked the other driver’s view of the ambulance as 40 it approached the intersection, and 41 WHEREAS, as a result of the crash, Angela Sanford sustained 42 life-threatening injuries that left her in a coma, including a 43 traumatic brain bleed that resulted in permanent cognitive and 44 depressive disorders, a lacerated liver, a ruptured bladder, a 45 cranial nerve injury resulting in permanent double vision, a 46 fractured pelvis requiring hardware insertion, a fractured 47 clavicle requiring hardware insertion, bilateral hip socket 48 fractures requiring hardware insertion, a fractured knee, a 49 fractured shoulder blade, eleven fractured ribs, permanent 50 peroneal nerve palsy known as foot drop, and numerous other 51 injuries that have now left her totally disabled and unable to 52 ever return to her career as an elementary school teacher, and 53 WHEREAS, Angela Sanford’s medical expenses at the time of 54 judgment exceeded $744,000, and 55 WHEREAS, on April 13, 2015, a final judgment in the amount 56 of $1.15 million was entered by the trial court for Angela 57 Sanford against Leon County, and 58 WHEREAS, Leon County carried liability insurance with 59 OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd., a Bermuda-domiciled company, 60 which will pay 100 percent of any appropriation up to the policy 61 limit of $3 million, and 62 WHEREAS, Leon County has already paid out $300,000 to other 63 persons injured in this accident in satisfaction of sovereign 64 immunity limits set forth in s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, NOW, 65 THEREFORE, 66 67 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 68 69 Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are 70 found and declared to be true. 71 Section 2. Leon County is authorized and directed to 72 appropriate from funds of the county not otherwise appropriated, 73 or from the county’s liability insurance coverage, and to draw a 74 warrant in the sum of $1.15 million, payable to Angela Sanford 75 as compensation for injuries and damages sustained. 76 Section 3. The amount paid by Leon County pursuant to s. 77 768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act 78 are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present 79 and future claims arising out of the factual situation described 80 in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Angela 81 Sanford. The total amount paid for attorney fees, lobbying fees, 82 costs, and similar expenses relating to this claim may not 83 exceed 25 percent of the total amount awarded under this act. 84 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.