TAMPA, Fla. — Nearly nine months after a woman was hit and killed by a Tampa garbage truck, her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
Marcia Rivers, 65, was jogging when she was hit and killed by a garbage truck in Tampa's Davis Islands neighborhood on June 26, 2018, according to first responders.
Tampa police said the driver of the garbage truck, identified as 49-year-old Jarvis Horatio Mercer, would not face criminal charges. He did, however, face a civil traffic citation involving a death, police say.
The lawsuit, filed by family attorney Sumeet Kaul of Morgan & Morgan, claims the garbage truck's backup lights weren't working and there were not "audible sounds" when the driver reversed the truck.
Florida law requires vehicles to have a "visible indicator" when reversing. The lawsuit said the truck was backing up when it hit and killed Rivers, dragging her 20-30 feet into the street before the truck stopped.
The family is asking for more than $15,000, excluding interest, costs and attorney's fees. The City of Tampa was notified on July 13, 2018 and has denied liability, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims the City of Tampa "consented and gave permission" to Mercer to operate their motor vehicle. It claims the crash happened while Mercer was operating the vehicle, causing liability for the city in "negligence of its employment/agent."
As a result, the lawsuit claims the family has suffered loss and mental pain and suffering, along with financial loss with having to pay for Rivers' medical and funeral expenses.
Kaul, the family attorney, provided the following statement on the lawsuit:
“Nothing will bring back Ms. Rivers or heal the pain this enormous loss has caused her family, but we will do everything we can to hold the City of Tampa accountable for, what we allege, was her preventable death. The City has a duty to ensure their vehicles are functioning and their employees are taking proper safety precautions – when a garbage truck’s backup lights and audible reversing sounds are not working, it puts everyone in the vicinity at risk. We believe the negligence in not ensuring these features were working—one of which is required by law—caused Ms. Rivers’ untimely death.”
10News reached out to the City of Tampa for comment. A city spokesperson said, "We don't discuss pending litigation."
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