Suit Against City Lifeguard Who Injured Beachgoer Begins

A civil trial involving a tourist who was run over on Ft. Lauderdale Beach six years ago got underway on Tuesday morning at the Broward Judicial Complex. The trial began with opening statements and testimony from both sides was given.

CBS Local Miami reports that Rinda Mizelle, a teacher who was visiting Ft. Lauderdale from North Carolina is suing the city after she was run over by a Beach Patrol SUV being driven by Lt. Tracy Moll of the Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue in April of 2012.

At the time of the accident, Mizelle had been lying face up on the beach with a shirt over her head near the lifeguard tower located within the 800 block of Seabreeze Boulevard.  Lt. Moll made a U-turn with the SUV and ran over Mizelle.

In court, Moll testified the vehicle with the wheels on either side of the victim. Mott acknowledged in court that Mizelle likely touched the undercarriage of the truck.

Mizelle was removed from beneath the SUV and transported to Broward Health Medical Center where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries which included burns and lacerations to her arms, legs and other parts of her body.

Counsel for Mizelle, John Phillips, asserted during the trial that because the SUV had been lowered to be between four and eight inches off the ground with the tires on the vehicle partially deflated to improve traction on the beach it made his client’s injuries worse.

Mizelle claims that she has suffered permanent neurological damage and is now constantly in pain. According to Mizelle, her husband, and her son, she used to have an active lifestyle before the accident doing activities such as gardening, surfing, and hangliding. Now she is unable to use her arms at all without experiencing pain. Maizelle is suing for an undisclosed amount but it could potentially end up costing the city millions.

The trial is expected to conclude on Thursday.