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Three Years On, Palm Coast Resident Sues Sheriff’s Office Over Wreck With Patrol Car

| June 1, 2016

james gore mitchell crash palm coast

The scene of the crash involving sheriff’s deputy James Gore and John Mitchell at Pine Lakes Parkway and Palm Coast Parkway on Oct. 31, 2013. (© FlaglerLive)

John Mitchell, a 43-year-old resident of Eric Drive in Palm Coast, is suing the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office for more than $15,000 on a negligence claim resulting from a t-bone wreck involving deputy James Gore in 2013.

Gore, according to a crash report, was responding to a call with his emergency lights activated when he approached the intersection of Pine Lakes Parkway and Palm Coast Parkway. Gore was heading south. The light was red. He drove through the intersection.

Mitchell was driving a GMC Envoy XL SUV, traveling east on Palm Coast Parkway. His SUV struck Gore’s patrol vehicle, a 2008 Crown Victoria, on the passenger side. Gore, who’d been with the agency about two years at the time–he’s still with the agency–was not seriously hurt. A Florida Highway Patrol investigator estimated that both vehicles had been traveling at about 33 miles per hour at the time of the collision, and that Mitchell applied the brakes just before crossing the stop bar on Palm Coast Parkway. A red-light camera video, then in place, assisted in the investigation of the wreck. The crash report was conducted by FHP.

Mitchell had initially been reported by a deputy at the scene to have had minor injuries. But the crash report listed his injuries as “incapacitating.” He was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler.

The lawsuit, filed on May 19 in Flagler County Circuit Court, charges that Gore failed to “reasonably and operate” his vehicle to avoid a collision, did not follow applicable traffic laws or maintain “proper lookout,” nor maintain a safe speed as he proceeded through the intersection–language commonly used in such auto negligence lawsuits. The complaint also claims he committed “other acts of negligence yet to be determined.”

As a result of the wreck, the suit claims, Mitchell suffered bodily and mental injuries and money, and the wreck aggravated a previously existing condition. “The losses are either permanent or continuing,” the suit claims, while Mitchell’s wife Holly is cited as having lost “care, companionship, society, comfort and services of her husband” as a result. Holly is named as a co-plaintiff.

Mitchell is represented by Robert McLeod and Seth Dempsey of the McLeod Firm in St. Augustine–not usually a remarkable detail in such suits but for this: McLeod is also the attorney representing Linda Bolante, Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre’s ex-finance director, in her more high-profile whistle-blower suit against the sheriff. That suit, filed two years ago, is ongoing. Both suits are being heard by Circuit Judge Scott Dupont.

Mitchell v. Flagler Sheriff

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16 Responses for “Three Years On, Palm Coast Resident Sues Sheriff’s Office Over Wreck With Patrol Car”

  1. Robert Lewis says:

    Can someone say bullshit?

  2. Geezer says:

    Broad-siding that increasingly rare Crown Victoria Interceptor ought to be a crime.
    Punishment? I can’t think of one strong enough…..

  3. Fredrick says:

    Only $15K? This will be settled and the lawyers will get all the money. What a waste of time.

  4. footballen says:

    My neck. my back.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How much has the Sheriff’s insurance policy premium increased over the past 4 years with complaints, lawsuits etc? There’s been far too many incidents involving deputies driving too fast.

  6. YankeeExPat says:

    Absolutely Mr. Geez!

    While I agree the loss of a Crown Vic is disheartening, in my own memory this is the vehicle that would, as my dad would say, make me straighten up and fly right.

    Bubble top with what I think is a mechanical Siren (NYPD 1972 PLYMOUTH FURY)

  7. John says:

    He was going 33mph… he had his lights and sirens activated. Why do citizens think they are above the law. YOU STOP when you see active patrol coming. He was not driving too fast or being careless.

  8. Literate says:

    John, if you also read further it says there was a red light camera video, it was investigated by FHP and it was determined that the officer was at fault, nobody was thinking they were above the law, its common sense to not just go thru a red light so idk what you’re complaining about…

  9. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    More like the police think they’re above the law.

  10. Agnese says:

    Well, usually when approaching an intersection, you STOP,LOOK and LISTEN

  11. Just saying says:

    In this case they kinda are above the law. When responding to emergencies with warning lights and a siren audible to 500ft, traffic control devices and speed limits can be disobeyed.

  12. Bill Cordell says:

    Some people can not drive when something out of the ordinary happens, how many times have you seen a driver staring at the signal and leaves when it turns green without looking both ways just in case? This is one of those morons, had the right away but was almost dead wrong. Put down the phones and focus people!

  13. Literate again says:

    Well Agnese, if your light at an intersection is green as you’re approaching it and you stop, look and listen then you have problems and shouldnt be driving on the road, again, i’ll point out the article for you, the victim of the crash slammed on his brakes, probably just as he was about to enter the intersection, the cop didnt stop at all, his light was red, idk about you but i have seen ems, fire trucks, etc, stop at the red light first, or even slow down, so that people have a chance to see them, because like all normal drivers they wouldnt be stopping at their green light, so idk why its their fault, i guess cops can do no wrong? Lemme guess, all lives matter too, lol..

  14. Markingthedays says:

    Was the siren being used? The article isn’t clear. It says only lights. During the middle of the day, flashing lights might not catch your attention the same way an audible siren does. I recently had to dodge an emergency vehicle who came around a blind corner with lights, but not sirens, on.

  15. DaveT says:

    Heck half the people in this county can’t hear or half see worth a hoot anyway,. Windows rolled up, music on, looking straight ahead, they would never hear or see a police, firetruck or ambulance coming. I’ve been witnessed to a ambulance heading east on Palm Coast Parkway with lights and sirens and people ( old people) in their cars just sat there, didn’t even know the ambulance was there until it got right next to them. I guess they didn’t see all the other people with driving skills pulling to the side to let the ambulance by.

  16. MarkingTheDays says:

    I hear you Dave T, I pulled over once for a fire truck I could see in my rearview. The guy behind me blew his horn, flipped me the bird, then pulled around me and nearly sideswiped the firetruck!

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