Wrongful Death Suit Filed in Illinois Over Apparatus Accident

The husband of a woman who died in an apparatus accident involving a Rockford, Illinois engine last March, has filed suit against the city and the apparatus driver. Ismael Mondragon filed suit as the administrator of Marta Sandoval Esquivias’ Estate as well as in his own name, against the city and firefighter Miguel Holland. Mondragon was injured in the crash as well, but survived.

The crash reportedly occurred at a traffic-light controlled intersection, while the apparatus was not responding to an alarm. The initial accident report indicated that the engine had the green light. However, the results of post-accident drug and alcohol testing showed Holland’s total delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration was 19.0 +/- 4.0 ng/mL., which is considered to be positive for impairment under Illinois law (5.0 ng/mL of blood is considered to be the limit). Holland claims he had not used a THC containing products for a week prior to the crash.

Further investigation revealed the engine was traveling at 47 mph in a 30 mph zone. As a result, Holland, 49, was charged with DUI, aggravated DUI resulting in death, and reckless homicide. He is facing a potential 33 years in prison. A copy of the complaint is not available. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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