Officer's auto collision costs city of Beaumont $155K

David Yates Jun. 28, 2010, 9:19am

The city of Beaumont was dealt a $155,348.33 blow on Friday, as a Jefferson County jury ruled that one of its police officers negligently caused a head on collision with a teenage motorist in March 2008.

The trial of Jay Brocato et al vs. City of Beaumont started June 21 in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court.

Jay and Valerie Brocato, on behalf of their daughter Macy, sued the city in March 2009, claiming Beaumont Police Officer Lance Carmouche was weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed without his audible and visual warning systems when he struck Macy head on.

Jurors were asked to decide who was more negligent in causing the collision. They found in favor of Macy, assigning 80 percent of the blame to Carmouche.

During the trial, Carmouche testified he was "probably" going 75 miles per hour -- 15 mph over the speed limit -- when he slammed into Macy's car.

His police cruiser's GPS system showed him speeding at 81 mph prior to the impact, evidence showed.

The incident occurred on May 23, 2008. Macy was traveling southbound on Major Drive and 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, according to court records and testimony.

Carmouche said he spotted Macy's vehicle, but did not slow down because he expected her to see his headlights.

Jurors awarded Macy $25,000 for future medical expenses, $87,500 for her past and future mental anguish, and $36,000 for her physical impairment.

Jurors also awarded Macy's parents, Jay and Valerie, $6,848.33 to compensate them for their daughter's past medical expenses.

The Brocato family is represented by Tommy Yeates, an attorney for the Beaumont law firm Moore Landrey.

The city is represented by Senior Assistant City Attorney Quentin Price.

Case No. D182-752

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