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Police Pursuit Ends in Mortal Car Accident

According to the miamiherald.com, a suspect being pursued by police drove his 2013 Chevy Suburban SUV the wrong way on I-95 and crashed head-on with a 2013 Kia minivan, killing four family members.

Deadly Police Pursuit

The suspect, identified as Willie Dumel, was fleeing Opa-Locka police after an officer saw some suspicious activity and tried to stop Mr. Dumel. At some point in the pursuit, the suspect drove his SUV northbound in the southbound lanes of I-95 at Ives Dairy Road. Shortly thereafter, between Ives Dairy Road and Hallandale Beach Boulevard, the SUV crashed head-on with the minivan. The four occupants of the minivan, who were reportedly all family members, died at the scene. The victims have not yet been identified, but police say that they believe them all to be adults. According to police, one of the victims was ejected and the minivan was completely destroyed in the crash. Similarly, the front of the Chevy Suburban was completely destroyed as well.

The suspect, who initially was incorrectly identified as 24-year-old Paolo LaFrance, was taken to the hospital with two broken legs and would have to undergo surgery. Dumel's condition was stable Wednesday night and he was expected to recover. The initial confusion with his identity was due to the fact that he was carrying an ID from another man at the time of the accident. Police say that upon learning of the accident, the gentleman who's ID had been stolen came to their headquarters to let them know that he had nothing to do with the accident and that his ID had been stolen four years earlier.

Police also reported that at some point during the pursuit the suspect tossed a gun out the window of his SUV. The gun was later recovered and placed into evidence. Mr. Dumel has so far been charged with fleeing or attempting to elude, but is likely to face more serious charges.

Police Liability

However, regardless of the criminal charges that authorities may end up charging Mr. Dumel with, it is important to know that the government itself may be liable for the wrongful deaths of the four occupants of the Kia minivan. There are laws and even police policies that restrict the police from pursuing suspects under certain circumstances. Typically, these rules prevent police from engaging in high speed pursuits under most circumstances. Typically these rules prevent police from pursuing suspects depending upon the seriousness of the offense they may have committed and the potential danger they present to the public. Under no circumstances, should the police officer in question have commenced a high speed chase and if he did, his supervisors should have told him to stop. The ongoing investigation will determine whether police broke any of these rules. Yet, it would be in the victims' best interest to have an experienced law firm conducting it's own investigation to determine liability.

A number of years ago our firm handled a case where the police chased a suspect's car and caused it to crash and kill a college co-ed. We were able to prove that the police broke the law and their own pursuit policies. In our case, the police saw a "suspicious car," much like the facts in this latest case, and started a high speed chase at night which resulted in the death of a innocent teenager. In our case as well as in the latest tragedy, the officer lied about the facts and circumstances of the chase. In our case, we were able to reconstruct the police officer's actions and those of his supervisor conclusively proving that the police conduct was wrong.

Although liability may be limited by statute depending on what government agency ends up being responsible (apparently several agencies, like the Opa-Locka police department and the Florida Highway Patrol where involved in the pursuit), our firm has successfully obtained Claim Bills thru the Florida Legislature to compensate victims of governmental negligence for amounts far greater than the statutory cap.

The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help

The lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 100 years of combined experience and stand ready to help the victims of car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents or accidents involving any other kind of motor vehicle. As stated before, our lawyers have represented victims in cases where the government has been found liable and we have being able to get the Florida Legislature to grant claim bills that have allowed our clients to collect from those responsible government agencies the compensation owed them.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a police pursuit, we urge you to contact a law firm experienced handling these matters. The Miami Dade County Car Accidents Lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have handled many cases involving traffic fatalities, traumatic brain injuries and serious personal injuries.

Please visit the Notable Cases section of our website to learn more about the firm and the cases we have handled. Once ready, please contact us at 305-595-2400 to schedule a free consultation.

Please note that we handle all personal injury matters, including car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not have to pay us anything, unless we win the case and obtain compensation for you.

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