Residents furious over crash-related lawsuit - FOX 13 News

Residents furious over crash-related lawsuit

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DADE CITY (FOX 13) -

It was a horrific crash on September 30th, 2010. Around 9:30 p.m., a car slammed into two trees, along Sheffey Lane in Dade City.

It was a private, dirt road that began after a paved road ended.

The residents say the crash shook the ground and sounded like a bomb went off.

"It was a horrific scene by all accounts. Some of the residents heard it, they came up on the scene " explained Hutch Brock, an attorney for one of the families on Sheffey Lane.

The residents all thought the tragedy ended with the deaths.

But now the families all need attorneys, because of a recently field lawsuit.

The lawsuit is against 20 families living on Sheffey Lane or near the intersection. The lawsuit is also against Pasco County.

For one neighbor at the intersection, where the stop sign was, the lawsuit alleges the homeowner "negligently, carelessly and recklessly maintained the foliage and lighting on his property, in such a manner as to obstruct visibility of traffic and signage."

For the other neighbors, the lawsuit says the residents "created or allowed...a dangerous condition," which created "a hazard to travelers."

The lawsuit alleges the stop sign was obscured, there were no lights on the road, and there were no signs warning of the trees on the side of the road.

The couple that died that night was Paul Suprenant and Sheila Julien.

Florida Highway Patrol wrote in their report that Suprenant "Failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection" and "failed to negotiate the roadway which narrowed,"

FHP says Suprenant was driving at speeds up to 90 miles an hour. The report also says if Suprenant had survived, he would have face numerous charges, including driving under the influence and vehicular homicide..

What's even more upsetting to the neighbors is the medical examiner reports. The autopsies on Suprenant and Julien found cocaine in both of their systems, as well as other illegal drugs.

Attorney Hutch Brock says, "A lot of people are using terms like outrageous (for the lawsuit) and perhaps that applies here. You have a situation where by all accounts, you have a speeding vehicle, leaving a crime scene, the person driving arguably intoxicated under some illicit substance, blowing a stop sign and coming onto a private road."

The attorneys have asked a judge to throw out this case.

Bob Stoler, representing two other families, says there is no evidence for this to go further.

"I haven't' seen any evidence that supports a claim of negligence, against my clients, that's for sure," Stoler said.

Sheila Juliens' mother, Janet Hickerson, is listed as the personal representative for Sheila Julien's estate.

Just before the crash, employees at a Blockbuster movie rental store in Zephyrhills say Julien set off the anti-theft alarm. A manager says they asked her to come back in but she refused and left the store. An employee says he followed to couple as they reached speeds up to 100 miles an hour. He told police he backed off, as the car sped away.

But Blockbuster is not named in the lawsuit.

There are still remnants of the violent crash on Sheffey Lane. One of the trees is now gone. But the other still stands. It has a large piece of bark missing and gashes in the tree.

There are also pieces of the crash still in a nearby wooded area. A broken mirror and pieces of plastic are strewn around.

Neighbors say they were saddened when the crash happened.

And one neighbor said every time she walks out her front gate, she is reminded of the memories that night. She was the first to arrive at the scene.

But they are upset and angry and wonder how anyone could blame them, for the deaths on their road.

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