California Fire Department Sued Over Vehicle Accident

The Hemet Fire Department is facing a lawsuit by the mother of a man who was killed in a vehicle accident last year. The fire department, along with the Hemet Police Department, are accused of failing to rescue Steven Collins Davis on January 27, 2023.

The suit was filed last week by Karen Helen Davis in Riverside County Superior Court. Besides the Hemet fire and police departments, the suit names Dylan Jack Calloway, the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident, along with Riverside County and the State of California. The suit accuses each defendant of negligence and wrongful death. Riverside County and the state are accused of negligence in the design and maintenance of the road in the area where the accident occurred, as well as having responsibility for the emergency response.

Quoting from the complaint:

  • On or about January 27, 2023, Decedent was traveling on Florida Avenue approaching the intersection of Acacia Avenue and Florida Avenue.
  • At the same time, Defendant DYLAN JACK CALLOWAY was exiting the mobile home park and was attempting to make a left turn onto Florida Avenue and struck the Decedent’s vehicle, which caused the Decedent’s vehicle to swerve into a drainage ditch at the intersection.
  • Plaintiff is informed and believes, and based thereon alleges that on the above date and time, the officers and medical personnel employed by Defendants CITY OF HEMET, HEMET POLICE DEPARTMENT, HEMET FIRE DEPARTMENT, COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE, STATE OF CALIFORNIA …had a duty to perform lifesaving services to the Decedent.
  • Plaintiff is informed and believes, and based thereon alleges that the officers and medical personnel of Defendants CITY OF HEMET, HEMET POLICE DEPARTMENT, HEMET FIRE DEPARTMENT, COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE, STATE OF CALIFORNIA … breached their duty to the Decedent when they failed to perform lifesaving services to the Decedent, which could have prevented the Decedent’s death.

From the complaint itself, it is not clear whether the fire department is accused of not responding quickly enough, of responding but not finding Calloway’s vehicle, or of failing to render aid to Calloway for some reason. The civil claim filed against the City of Hemet states “Claimant alleges that the Decedent was left in the vehicle for several hours, and that no lifesaving services were provided to the Decedent.”

Here is a copy of the complaint:

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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