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Street cleaning truck runs over and drags teen; Coral Gables settles with injured Miami student

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Large trucks can strike pedestrians, runners and cyclists and not even be aware of the victims’ presence after impact. In addition to "blind spots," large trucks have to be extra careful because the drivers cannot hear as well because of the noise from their engines, and their vehicles sometimes take more time and distance because of their mass and momentum to come to a complete and safe stop. As an alum of the University of Miami, the news report of the settlement of the tragic accident involving a student struck a cord with me as I used to run and bike all over the streets around the campus. The city of Coral Gables agreed last month to pay $1.96 million to a young woman who was run over by a street sweeper and was dragged 200 feet.

In 2008 the a 19-year-old University of Miami student was crossing the street when she was struck. She lost all of her teeth and one eye and most of the skin was stripped from her face. Her spleen was destroyed and had to be removed and her stomach was severely lacerated. She sustained fractures to her femur and 12 ribs. Milov was in a coma for 30 days and underwent 10 surgeries. She will need at least five more surgeries and continues physical therapy. The city settled before a suit was filed according to the Miami Hurricane. The New Jersey native was walking near the Village of Merrick Park at about 1 a.m. on Sept. 11 when the incident occurred. The college student walked down a poorly lit side street in dark clothes and it was drizzling. The Defendant driver of the Coral Gables street sweeper was traveling east on Altara Avenue and turned, going north on Aurora Avenue and hitting the girl as she was crossing the pedestrian walkway. The street sweeper driver then drove 153 feet until an alarm told him that something was causing the sweeper to malfunction. A witness at the scene called out to him saying that a person was under the sweeper. He then drove 60 feet backwards. The injured student was ejected, lying unconscious on the road.

At first, the Defendant driver gave police a false account. The police report, released 10 days after the incident occurred, said a person was stumbling across the cross walk, “not doing ‘good’, and fell down.” As the Defendant drove on, he “felt a bump,” according to the report. Police say the Defendant fabricated the person stumbling and falling because he was scared after the crash. A Coral Gables employee since 2006, the Defendant sweeper truck driver was charged in November with a civil traffic infraction, for failure to yield to a pedestrian. The University student was in critical condition when taken to the intensive care unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. “It’s a very difficult medical situation,’’ said Aaron Podhurst, the Plaintiff’s family’s lawyer, (and a long time friend of both Norman and Doug Landau) “We are very hopeful she will continue to recover, but she has a long haul in front of her.’’ The settlement of $1,960,500 will help cover junior’s medical bills of $1,250,000. The City of Coral Gables will use $310,000 from the city’s insurance fund to cover a portion of the settlement.