MIAMI (CBS4) – A Washington woman who was seriously injured over the July 4th weekend when she was reportedly struck by a Miami Beach police officer on an ATV has filed a lawsuit against him and the hotel where he had been drinking that night.
Kitzie Nicanor, 29, remains hospitalized in very serious condition with a “severe traumatic brain injury,” according to the suit. Nicanor, who will need continued medical care for the rest of her life, is suing for millions on behalf of herself and her year old son.
“We have filed a lawsuit this morning in the Dade County Circuit Court against ex-officer Derick kuilan and the Clevelander (Hotel) for the purpose of recovery of a substantial amount of medical expenses my client is going to need for rest of her natural life,” said Nicanor’s attorney Frank Toral.
Nicanor was on visiting South Florida when she made the fateful decision to go for a walk on Miami Beach on July 3rd with her friend 29-year old Luis Almonte.
“I came here on vacation to visit my parents, I was out but was I doing something stupid? No, I was just going for a walk,” said Nicanor.
Police said while walking by the shoreline Nicanor and Almonte were hit by an all-terrain vehicle, driven by Kuilan who was on-duty at the time.
Kulian had allegedly been drinking and partying along with fellow officer Rolando Gutierrez at a bachelorette party at the Clevelander Hotel before Kuilan got behind the wheel of the ATV with a female passenger and went for a ride on the beach. He and Gutierrez were later fired from the department over the incident.
Toral said the Clevelander Hotel has been named in the suit under the Florida liquor liability statute.
“They knowingly served officer Kuilan alcoholic beverages while he was on the job and they knowingly served him while he was drunk,” said Toral.
The accident left Nicanor with a perforated heart, broken femur, and a spleen so badly damaged, it had to be removed. Almonte also reportedly suffered a broken femur.
“I wake up every day crying because I can’t see my son while they are out having a good time because they have bail,” Nicanor told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
Kuilan has been charged with four third-degree felony counts, including DUI with serious injury. Each count could mean up to five years behind bars.
“We are pleased that felony criminal charges were filed against him and hopefully (he’ll be) prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Toral, “The civil part of this will allow her to get the care that she needs.”
A lawsuit against the Miami Beach police department will not be filed immediately because of a six month state mandated waiting period.