De Soto Trail Elementary

After 5th grader run over ‘at least twice’ by golf cart, family sues Leon County Schools

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Tallahassee Democrat | CD Davidson-Hiers | October 19, 2020

After a fifth-grader was run over by a golf cart “at least twice” at DeSoto Trail Elementary School, her family is suing the Leon County public school district, according to a lawsuit filed last week. 

According to the complaint, school monitor Dallis Brown last October reversed his golf cart over the girl and did not call 911 or immediately alert the school’s nurse. 

Instead, Brown “picked up (the student) and placed her on the back of the golf cart,” the complaint says. 

Her parents, Jim Alexander Navarro and Helen Patricia Brenes, are demanding a jury trial for damages of more than $30,000. Joe Longfellow and Riley Landy of Tallahassee law firm Andrews, Crabtree, Knox & Longfellow represent the family. 

A golf cart, similar to one seen in this stock image, played a role in a lawsuit filed against the Leon County school district.
A golf cart, similar to the one seen in this stock image, played a role in a lawsuit filed against the Leon County school district. Image by Kevin Phillips, from Pixabay

Longfellow told the Tallahassee Democrat on Friday that in a video he watched of the incident from a school security camera, Brown appears to reverse in the golf cart toward the fifth-grader, knock her down and roll over her with the back and front tires of the golf cart, then drive forward over the girl again. 

He said, to his knowledge, the student did not break anything in the accident but she did sustain back injuries, for which she is still being treated. 

A complaint in a lawsuit tells one side of a story. District spokesman Chris Petley said the district is aware of the suit but “but does not offer comment on pending litigation.” He also declined to say whether Brown is still employed by the district.

The complaint also alleges Brown was not properly trained on the use of a golf cart and holds the school district liable, as Brown’s employer, for the girl’s pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish and for the costs of medical care, in addition to damages for the parents’ distress. 

Featured Image: Glenn Bell/Democrat