A man who was injured in a crash by teens in a stolen car has learned that his insurance company is footing the bill for many things it shouldn’t.
29-year-old Ricky Melendez was struck at 112 MPH by a stolen SUV crewed by juvenile delinquents in a fatal accident that took the lives of three out of four of the stolen vehicle’s occupants.
While investigators insisted that Melendez did nothing wrong, his car insurance provider -Geico- has agreed to pay out a total of $20,000.00 to the families of the wayward boys.
“It hurts. I honestly feel like I was involved in another car crash emotionally, just betrayed,” said Melendez, who still cannot walk unassisted. “It’s very disheartening that a company you pay monthly to pretty much have your back is just stabbing you in the back.”
Melendez’s attorney -Mark Roman- says the August 6 crash was due to the boys and no one else.
“It’s a disgusting and shocking development,” Roman said. “This poor guy was driving to work at a grocery store when his life was changed forever by horrible criminal acts.”
In all likelihood, however, Geico likely paid the settlement to avoid a possible lawsuit- a very real problem with prolonged frivolous cases.
“They’re just paying it to get out from under it,” Tarpon Springs lawyer Gerasimos ‘Jerry’ Theophilopoulos said. “Damages are serious when you have a death of young kids at the ages they were.”
However, it means Melendez’s rates may go up- for something he didn’t do.
“If there’s no fault attributed to him, they don’t have to raise them, period,” Theophilopoulos said. “But do they routinely attempt to do it? Yes.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, it is unknown who initiated the insurance claims and Geico has yet to respond to an inquiry.
The boys who died were Jimmie Goshey, 14; Dejarae Thomas, 16; and the suspected driver, Keontae Brown, 16. Keontae’s brother, Keondrae, 14, was the only survivor from the stolen Ford Explorer.