Did Defective Road Contribute To Tragic Car Crash In Bithlo/Christmas?
Many of us here in Winter Park — and especially those of us who are parents of recent and current Winter Park High School students — were shocked and saddened to learn of a tragic car accident that happened a couple of nights ago out in the Bithlo/ Christmas area. The one-car crash killed Thomas Stutts and Justin Vail, and injured Omokolap Hunpatin, after the SUV they were traveling in left the roadway of Fort Christmas Road, crashed through a fence, and into a tree. The coverage that I saw was from the good folks at WESH.com (who I think always do a great job on local reporting.) As an attorney who has handled car accident and wrongful death cases for a long time, a couple of things struck me about the story. First, I was shocked at the destruction to the SUV that these young men had been driving in. I was, frankly, surprised that anyone could have survived this crash. I was not surprised to hear from the Florida Highway Patrol that speed may have been a factor in the crash. However, my interest really perked up when the WESH reporter started interviewing neighbors, who reported that horrible accidents (many of them involving fatalities) happen along that seemingly quiet road all the time. Video captured for the story showed multiple crosses and other memorials laid out beside Fort Christmas Road where other fatal crashes have presumably occurred. Normally, a governmental entity cannot be held responsible for planning-level decisions — such the decision to build a road, or where the road will travel, or where to put a stop sign. However, when it becomes apparent that something about the design of the road contains some kind of defect or makes for a dangerous condition, then a governmental entity can be held responsible for damages for personal injuries or wrongful death. When I hear about multiple deaths on the same stretch of road over a period of time, I start to wonder whether we have a defective road. I become suspicious that perhaps the County, or State, or whichever entity built that road, could have done more to make it safer – like perhaps installed barriers on the edge of the roadway, or speed humps, or some other similar seemingly simple remedy that might have saved these young men’s precious lives. If you have any questions regarding a Florida car accident or wrongful death case, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901 for […]
ALERT: You Could Be Victim Of Violence In Apartments Near UCF
Unfortunately, it seems like every week these days we learn about another violent attack at an apartment complex near the University of Central Florida (UCF.) This week was no exception. According to the OrlandoSentinel.com website, an unidentified man was shot in the back when he was approached by a gunman in the parking lot of the Marquee Apartments located across the street from UCF. Apparently the man robbed the victim, and shot him as he was trying to leave. Unfortunately, the Marquee Apartments have been the scene of several violent crimes in recent times. Our thoughts and prayers obviously go out to the victim of the shooting. Nobody parks their car in a commercial parking lot in a college area and expects to be the victim of violence in apartments near UCF – and nobody should. With all of the reported violent crimes in the area around UCF, one would think that the businesses in that area would be taking a serious look at security and making improvements. All businesses owe their patrons a duty to provide reasonable security under the circumstances. If an area is particularly violent or crime-ridden, security measures will need to be heightened. Many times this will mean that a business needs to employ additional security officers. Sometimes it may mean installing gates, doors, or security cameras. It would be interesting to learn what the Marquee Apartment was doing in terms of security. When the owners see their apartment complex named in multiple stories about violent crime over series of weeks or month, it would seem like they might be taking extraordinary measures to prove to the public that their complex is safe. It clearly seems like they still have some work to do. If you have any questions regarding a violent attack at an apartment complex or any business or commercial enterprise, or if you want to learn about any aspect of a Florida negligent security case, please call Winter Park personal injury/wrongful death attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901 or visit our website at http://cullen-hemphill.com.
Ignoring “Red Flags” Of Child Sex Abuse Fails Kids
Organizations that serve children have no choice but to pay attention to “red flags” that suggest than an adult is sexually abusing a child. Nevertheless, we continue to learn about organizations that have every reason to believe that an adult is harming a child, but does nothing more than ask the adult to stop or issue a warning to the adult. This has to stop. The price it just too high. As a Florida child sex abuse attorney, I was very disappointed to read a story on the WFTV website about a former Apopka Elementary School teacher who was recently arrested for allegedly inappropriately touching one of his former students. Once the police received the report from this recent victim, the began investigating the teacher’s personnel file. The file showed that the teacher had been accused in the past of having students sit in his lap in class, and for being very “touchy” with the children in his class. Apparently, the teacher was warned, but nothing more. We don’t know the timing of the abuse of the victim that came forward recently, but if it was following the “red flags” the school received, then this situation represents a horrible failure on the part of Apopka Elementary School. It seems pretty clear that the school should have terminated this teacher as soon as the lap-sitting and touching allegations were substantiated. As I wrote earlier, the stakes are too high to do otherwise. I certainly hope the victim who had the courage to report this accused molester to police is receiving the mental health and emotional care and therapy he needs. If you have any questions regarding allegations of any adult committing an act of child sex abuse, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901 or visit http://cullen-hemphill.com. Consultations are always free and without obligation.