CREATED Jun. 11, 2013 - UPDATED: Jun. 12, 2013
Fort Myers, Fla.- Florida Highway Patrol trooper has been charged with Careless Driving after rear ending an SUV and causing a pregnant woman to lose her baby.
The investigation started out as a homicide but would up as a traffic charge.
"Yesterday was Christian's due date when I should've had him," said Crystal McClure, who was paralyzed after the accident. She should be happy about a newborn son. Instead he was killed on the night of February 15th in this crash. McClure, her husband, and their one year old son were heading south on I-75 at Colonial Boulevard when, according to the FHP's own report, Trooper Gustavo Reyes was off work, in his cruiser, on his email, and speeding. In a 70 mile an hour zone, he was calculated doing between 79 and 88.
"The officer was on his way to an off duty job at the dog track and he was on his computer and he slammed into them from behind," said Andy Kagan who is McClure’s attorney.
The report specifically says the FHP will not charge Reyes with a crime and the State Attorney's Office signed off on that. It will remain just a traffic offense.
"I think if it were one of us or some ordinary person they'd be in jail,” said McClure. When asked if she thinks that because he's a trooper he got a lot of leeway, she said, “I think so."
"Anytime the Florida Highway Patrol investigates a traffic homicide investigation we're going to do so objectively and thoroughly,” said Lt. Greg Bueno of the Florida Highway Patrol. “We investigated this crash as a death and as objectively as we did any other crash"
"I can't walk or anything,” says McClure, who is paralyzed from the waist down. “I can't take care of my son without help, can't use the bathroom on my own, can't do anything by myself."
Her attorney says she doesn't have medical insurance and the Florida Highway Patrol's policy only goes up to $300,000 which won't come close to covering her bills.
"I would just like to point out that sometimes people think that $300,000 is a lot of money but when you have over $500,000 in medical bills you realize how inadequate $300,000 is in coverage,” added Kagan. “My suggestion would be if they're going to be on the computer and approaching speeds of 90 miles per hour they should probably up that insurance amount"
A couple of notes, the trooper still has his job. It's a desk job for now. And, according to the report, the dash cam that they have in their cruisers didn't come on until after the accident.
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