A man who lost his leg when a Connecticut State Police cruiser struck him on a highway has received a substantial jury verdict. The jury reduced the $25 million verdict to $16.2 million based upon a finding of comparative negligence on the part of the plaintiff. Even with this reduction, the verdict may be the largest ever awarded in a lawsuit against the state of Connecticut.
At around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 29, 2010, the plaintiff ran out of gas and pulled his truck to the shoulder of northbound Route 25 in Bridgeport. He claimed that he could not reach his wife on his cell phone, so he got out of his car and began to cross the highway, intending either to find a gas station or walk home. State Police Office Darren Pavlik was driving his cruiser in the southbound lanes of Route 25 at the same time. Pavlik’s vehicle struck the plaintiff as he was crossing the southbound lanes on foot.
The impact severed the plaintiff’s right leg, which landed in a parking lot across the street, over one hundred feet away. The plaintiff landed on the shoulder of the highway. He suffered brain damage and a crushed pelvis in addition to losing his leg, and injuries to his hands prevent him from grasping anything. According to evidence presented at trial, Pavlik drove to the nearest exit after the collision, re-entered the highway on the other side, and drove around to the crash site. The dashboard camera reportedly shows Pavlik exit his vehicle, inspect his front bumper, and then approach the plaintiff to ask for his name and address. News coverage at the time of the accident said that Pavlik administered first aid until an EMS crew arrived.