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A Miami Beach cop's crash - while on duty - injured two innocent tourists at the popular Florida tourist attraction. The ATV crash was the result of drunk driving.
The police officer involved in the crash had earlier gone to a South Beach nightclub, even though he was on duty. Derick Kuilan is a five-year veteran of the force. He and another officer, Rolando Gutierrez, apparently drank and acted so unprofessionally that members of a bachelorette party at the club thought they were not real police officers, though they were in uniform.
Kuilan left the bachelorette party, with a woman from the party in tow - and went on a drunken ATV joyride on the beach. That's when he struck the two tourists. One was critically injured, reports The Daily Mail. Is there civil liability?
There could be. While police officers generally can employ a defense of qualified immunity for some of their conduct in the course of their police work, it does not seem that Kuilan's drunken ATV ride is something that falls in this category. Qualified immunity usually protects police officers from civil liability if their conduct does not violate a statutory right or constitutional protections.
While Kuilan was on duty at the time of the accident, it seems clear that he acted negligently, at the least. His blood-alcohol content, though measured five hours after the incident, was still above the legal limit, according to Reuters.
And, maybe the police department itself could face civil liability, such as negligent supervision or negligent training of their officers.
What happened to the two Miami Beach cops? The crash apparently cost them their jobs, as both Gutierrez and Kuilan were fired, according to The Daily Mail. Though, was the firing enough to compensate for the injuries sustained by the two tourists? One of the ATV crash victims suffered a perforated heart, broken femur, and had to have her spleen removed.