Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fatal Hit and Run Takes A Civil Turn With Suit

The family of one of two British businessmen killed in a Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run crash filed a lawsuit Monday against the owner of the car involved in that accident and a friend of the car's owner.

A Porsche 911 Turbo owned by Ryan LeVin, 34, struck Craig Elford, 39, and Kenneth Watkinson, 48, on Feb. 13 as they walked along State Road A1A to their hotel on Fort Lauderdale beach.Police are investigating to see who was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. Though the lawsuit filed by Elford's family does not mention who was driving the Porsche, it accuses LeVin and his friend Derek Cook, 37, who police say drove the sports car at some point that night, of reckless driving.

Complete coverage: Deadly hit-and-run kills two Britons

"These men represent the ultimate not just in negligence but in cowardice for fleeing the scene," said Seth Miles, one of the attorneys representing Elford's family. "His family is demolished. They just want to see them take some responsibility."

Among the accusations in the lawsuit are two charges the Fort Lauderdale Police Department have not verified: that both men were driving drunk and that one of them was involved in a drag race moments before the crash. Those details were gathered from witnesses, Miles said.The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from both men.

"I'm not surprised they filed the lawsuit. That's what people do when they lose relatives," said David Bogenschutz, one of LeVin's attorneys. "But filing a lawsuit and proving a lawsuit are two different things."

LeVin is behind bars in Illinois for violating the terms of his probation for a 2006 car chase in Chicago. The British tourists are very dead, and no one has yet been formally arrested or charge, though law enforcement seems to know what happened and how and by whom. This investigation has had some tv like turns and quirks that are manifesting into a difficult prosecution. Sad for the victims. Sad for the people of the State of Florida.

From a defense perspective however, we must always remember it is the State's duty to insure that their case is proven beyond a reasonable doubt and the burden to prove what might have happened did indeed occur. Initially, everyone thought the driver was someone other than who it turned out to be. If lynch mobs were still tolerated, the wrong guy would have already been hung.

No comments:

Post a Comment