In October 2009, Theresa Guy was driving with a friend and her son Nathian, age 4, in Kingsfield Road in Escambia County as it intersects Hwy 97 on Saturday 10/17/09. Defendant Roads Inc. was installing a turn lane on the right side of the road at the Highway 98 intersection.
While Roads Inc. put down the initial layer of asphalt in the turn lane a fews weeks earlier, its workers had taken down the stop sign at the intersection. According to testimony, the sign was moved to a point 19′ off the side of the road. Someone complained a week later that you couldn’t see it. Instead of moving it back they installed a “stop ahead” sign and a far-removed left hand stop sign.
At the time of the accident, there was heavy equipment parked in the turn lane from when they left work the day before. This blocked the view of the right-hand sign from about 300 feet, in violation of Florida law. Theresa went through the stop sign and her car was T-boned by another vehicle, killing her son and her passenger.
Guy’s attorneys, Matt Schultz and Rachael Gilmer of the Levin Papantonio law firm, presented evidence to the jury to establish that Roads Inc. had violated regulations and standards in the misplacement of road barrels and road signs and had left heavy equipment in a designated clear zone, thus blocking a clear view of their misplaced stop sign and the intersection traffic itself. It was further alleged that Roads’ superintendent on the jobsite did not have the required training and certifications.
After an initial deliberation on the issue of liability, the jury found that Roads, Inc. of Northwest Florida was 90 percent at fault for the accident. In a subsequent deliberation the same jury awarded damages of $4.25 Million in this wrongful death lawsuit.