Officer admits to speeding in car wreck trial against city of Beaumont
While on the witness stand, Beaumont Police Officer Lance Carmouche admitted on Wednesday that he violated department policy by speeding in a non-emergency situation and struck Macy Brocato's vehicle head on.
On behalf of their teenage daughter, Jay and Valerie Brocato sued the city of Beaumont in March 2009, alleging Carmouche was "swerving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed without his audible and visual warning systems."
The trial of Brocato et al vs. city of Beaumont began on June 21 in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court.
On June 23 jurors heard testimony from Carmouche, who admitted he was "probably" going 75 miles per hour –- 15 miles over the speed limit –- when he slammed into Macy's car.
According to court records and testimony, on May 23, 2008, Macy was traveling southbound on Major Drive. She was in the process of making a left-hand turn onto Westfield Lane when she collided with Carmouche, who was on his way to assist a fellow officer.
Although he admitted to traveling at 75 mph, his police cruiser's GPS system showed him speeding at 81 mph seconds prior to the impact.
Officer Carmouche testified that he spotted Macy's vehicle, but did not slow down because he expected her to see his headlights.
Plaintiff's attorney Tommy Yeates maintains that Officer Carmouche was "weaving" in and out of traffic on a dark road, making it impossible for Macy to see him coming.
Carmouche acknowledged he was "changing lanes" but adamantly refused to call it "weaving."
In addition to defending itself against the Brocato's claims, the city is also pursuing a counterclaim against them, and will more than likely ask jurors to award the city actual damages for the destruction of its police cruiser.
Carmouche is a party to the city's counterclaim, claiming he was injured in the incident.
The city is represented by Senior Assistant City Attorney Quentin Price.
Yeates is an attorney for the Beaumont law firm Moore Landrey.
Case No. D182-752