Gov. DeSantis signs bill clearing $950K to parents of man killed in Miami-Dade bus crash
Image via AP.

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Without legislative action, the most the man’s family could have gotten was $300K.

The family of a man killed in a May 2019 motorcycle crash with a Miami-Dade County bus will receive $950,000 through legislation Gov. Ron DeSantis just approved.

It’s the balance of a $1.25 million wrongful death settlement Jacqueline Abreu and Manuel Sanchez, the parents of Jason Sanchez, reached with the county last April.

Of that sum, the county was able to pay $300,000 without action by the Legislature.

Jason Sanchez, 33, was traveling on his 2009 Yamaha motorbike on Southwest 107th Avenue in West Miami-Dade on May 13, 2019, when a Metrobus driver improperly advanced into an intersection, causing a crash that killed him.

According to a lawsuit his parents filed against the county just months later, Sanchez took all necessary precautions that day. He wore a helmet and traveled “at or below the posted speed limit.” But he did not have enough time to react when the bus driver failed to stop at the marked intersection at Southwest 176th Street and 107th Avenue.

Sanchez sustained “fatal blunt force injuries,” the lawsuit said, including a fractured skull, dislocated and fractured vertebrae, fractured ribs; brain lacerations, tears to the aorta and heart, lacerations to the left lung and liver, fractures to the left humerus, left femur, right tibia and right fibula, internal bleeding, abrasions and lacerations.

His funeral was held four days after the crash at Caballero Rivero Westchester. One day later, his family hosted a celebration of his life at Alpha & Omega Church and buried him at Miami Memorial Park Cemetery in Miami-Dade’s unincorporated Glenvar Heights neighborhood.

Sanchez’s parents then took legal action, filing suit against the county in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court. The county and Sanchez’s estate reached a tentative settlement on April 26, 2022.

For the $950,000 balance of the settlement to reach Sanchez’s family, a lawmaker had to take up the cause. Doral Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Miami Rep. Juan Carlos Porras did so through legislation (SB 6) that received near-uniform support in both chambers of the Legislature.

Only Gainesville Sen. Keith Perry, a fellow Republican, voted “no.” He explained while discussing separate but similar legislation that while he sympathizes with the aggrieved parties seeking recompense, he believes bypassing governmental payout caps circumvents rather than adheres to state law.

DeSantis signed the measure Friday.

SB 6 and measures like it are classified as “claims bills” or “relief acts” and are a means of compensating a person or entity for injuries or losses caused by the negligence or error of a public officer or agency.

They arise when appropriate damages exceed what is allowable under Florida’s sovereign immunity laws, which protect governments from costly lawsuits by limiting what can be paid without legislative action.

Currently, the Legislature must approve settlements higher than $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident. Lawmakers have tried for years to raise those caps — last adjusted in 2010 — for years to no avail.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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