The Bridgeport Fire Department has been found liable for an apparatus accident that claimed the lives of two women in 2007.
The accident occurred on July 31, 2007, as Ladder 5, driven by Firefighter David Otero, was responding to a reported smoke condition. Ladder 5 allegedly proceeded through a red traffic signal at Congress Street and Housatonic Avenue, colliding with a car driven by Gwendolyn Little, 58, and occupied by her mother, Essie Williams, 76. Both Little and Williams died as a result of their injuries.
The trial was held before Judge Theodore Tyma sitting without a jury. In an 18 page ruling issued yesterday, the judge found Otero negligent, and awarded roughly $3.4 million in damages to relatives of the deceased. The decision stated:
“The plaintiffs have proven by a fair preponderance of the evidence that Otero was negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout as he drove Ladder 5 into and across the intersection of Congress Street and Housatonic Avenue…. There is no plausible reason, notwithstanding Otero’s explanatory testimony, why he stopped looking to his left and right as he proceeded through the busy and heavily traveled intersection while continually accelerating his approximately 37 ton truck.”
No word yet on whether the city plans an appeal. More on the story.