Hyram Montero helped a family move forward after a tragic car accident took the life of their teenage daughter. Mr. Montero reached a settlement of $200,000 with the city of Coconut Creek, Florida for the high-speed police chase that caused Abigail Espinoza’s death.
Florida law limits the amount of settlement that a state agency can pay for claims. The Espinoza family accepted the highest amount that the family could receive without an act from the Florida legislature. The family is devastated by the loss of their daughter and opted to accept the maximum settlement rather than to go through the ordeal of a trial.
Espinoza was the passenger in a car driven by Fabreece Ductan. Ductan and Espinoza had been friends since elementary school. A Coconut Creek police officer smelled alcohol and marijuana coming from Ductan’s parked car as they sat inside it.
Ductan, then 19, fled the scene with the police in pursuit. The police officers engaged in a high-speed chase, hitting speeds of nearly 80 miles per hour in a 40-mph speed limit zone, according to the police in-car camera systems that track and record speed and GPS location.
Another officer drove over 90-mph to join the pursuit. The officer clocked that speed in a 45-mph zone. The officers justified the high-speed chase on the grounds that they were trying to get a possibly impaired driver off the road before he harmed someone.
A lieutenant ordered one of the officers to stop the pursuit. The officer responded that he was no longer in pursuit, even though he still was. Three other officers joined in the chase. Three of the officers have a history of excessive speeding.
Five minutes after the order to stop the pursuit, Ductan crashed into another car. Ductan, Espinoza, and the other driver sustained injuries. All three injured parties went to the hospital for medical treatment. The hospital treated and released Ductan and the other driver. Espinoza died from her injuries.
Less than a minute before the crash, police officers reported that they lost sight of Ductan’s car. The chase had gone on for several miles.
Ductan pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide. He is serving a 16-year sentence.
While the settlement money will never bring back their daughter or take away the daily pain of her loss, Espinoza’s family can find solace in knowing that the city of Coconut Creek had to pay for the wrongful actions of its officers. The parents say that their faith is keeping them alive. Their daughter’s life had meaning and value, and Hyram Montero held the people who contributed to the accident that took her life accountable for their actions.
At the Montero Law Center, we value faith, family, and hard work. If you suffered injury or loss due to the wrongful act of someone else, you might be eligible to recover damages. Our personal injury team helps people get the compensation they deserve.
Call us today at 954-767-6500 for your free consultation.