All of the personal injury attorneys I know in Florida all preach the same thing to our friends and families; please make sure you have Uninsured Motorist coverage on your automobile insurance policy.
Today’s blog is yet another story with that main theme.
In a wrongful death claim such as this one, I will summarize for you below, there are many questions that instantly pop into the mind of the personal injury attorney reading about it: Was the person who caused the collision insured? Who’s car was she driving? Was the car’s owner? What were the automobile insurance policy limits? Is there some obscure insurance exclusion which will give the insurance company a way out of paying on their insurance contract? Whatever those policy limits are, they will soon be exhausted. After those are exhausted, I wonder if the person killed in the collision had UM (underinsured motorist) coverage on his automobile insurance policy? Are there more obscure locations of insurance for the at-fault driver?
I have found, sometimes, that a person who causes a crash may still be covered under their parents or resident relative’s policies, but that is one part of your personal injury attorney’s job; to find the coverage.
This collision occurred on Wednesday night. A Naples working mother of three young daughters, Stacy Lynn Naples was supposed to be driving her 5-year-old nephew home. Instead of doing that, news reports indicate that she instead took her nephew to a drug deal while she was babysitting him. That’s right. I said drug deal. As in, she took her 5 year old nephew to exchange drugs for money.
She was supposed to also drive the child back to his mother, but that didn’t happen either. Now not only does she face multiple charges, but has managed to take the life of Richard Trompke as well as injuring his passenger. With a long history of traffic violations including not having a valid driver’s license for a decade, she was still behind the wheel, still driving erratically, and running stop signs.
The kicker is, the children were passengers during all of this, endangering their lives as well as Trompke paying the ultimate price when she ran a stop sign and slammed into the side of his 2001 Kia Optima during a high speed chase with the police. The cause of the high speed chase? News reports say it was a drug deal gone bad.
When Police observed Michelle Cruz, 41, get into the backseat of Naples’ car at the exchange location of 34th Street and 47th Avenue. Isaiah, the nephew- sat up front, without a restraint. After questioning, Michelle Cruz later told deputies she had gotten into the back seat because she was there to buy marijuana from Naples. Apparently, a deputy approached on foot but had to jump out of the way when she drove off. Another deputy witnessed the deputy being endangered and under department policy felt that he could pursue Naples initiating the need for a high speed chase in an unmarked cruiser, with lights and sirens blaring.
Naples apparently did not want to go back to jail. Her records show that in 2006 she was sentenced to 60 days in the Pinellas County jail for a felony driver’s license violation. Yet she was still driving? I call that a slow learner. According to police, Naples was driving between 40 and 80 mph as she sped south on 34th Street, turned east onto Central Avenue, then north on 11th Street North while being chased by PCSO. At around 11:30 p.m. is when Naples’ car struck the driver’s side of the Trompke’s silver 2001 Kia Optima. Firefighters had to cut Trompke, 50, out of the car. He was later pronounced dead at Bayfront Medical Center.
His passenger, Tara Lynn Griffith, 34, was treated there and later released. She was the only one in the crash who was wearing a seatbelt. No one in Naple’s car was injured. Deputies said they found 3.9 grams of crack cocaine and 1.7 grams of marijuana inside Naple’s car.
Herman & Wells, P.A.is a law firm which handles personal injury lawsuits for people who are injured in car crashes in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and surrounding areas of Florida.