By Jane Musgrave
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at 12:01 AM Updated Aug 21, 2014 at 1:30 AM
The family of a 51-year-old North Palm Beach man is suing the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, claiming the fiery 2012 crash that killed Louis Robert Hausman could have been avoided if deputies had properly warned drivers that his SUV had crashed on Florida’s Turnpike.
Instead of putting flares or other warning devices near Hausman’s SUV, deputies Samantha Clemente and Charles Booth parked their squad cars, with lights flashing, on the opposite side of the turnpike near Palm Beach Gardens, says the lawsuit filed this week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.
Not only did their action fail to warn drivers that the air traffic controller’s vehicle had flipped into the left lane, but it forced traffic toward it. Under the state’s move over law, motorists are required to move over when they see flashing lights, wrote attorney William Johnson, who is representing Hausman’s widow, Virginia Klohn, and two children.
That is exactly what Miami-Dade County truck driver, Leroy Thompson, did. He switched lanes, crashing into Hausman’s GMC Envoy. It exploded in flames. Jamie Clifford Auxier, 51, who was in the SUV with Hausman, also was killed.
Sheriff’s officials disputed the allegations. Thompson and his employer, Premier Beverage Co. recently reached a confidential settlement in connection with another lawsuit filed by Hausman’s family.