Four witnesses were called to testify Wednesday in the lawsuit filed by the family of a man killed by a former Marine who stole a fire truck and ran away from a hospital in 2012.
Opening arguments began Wednesday in Beaufort County Court in the law filed by Rebecca Delaney, the mother of 28-year-old Justin Miller, against Casepro Inc., the staffing agency for Naval Hospital Beaufort from which Kalvin Hunt ran naked Feb. 24, 2012.
The jury is tasked with deciding whether hospital staff could have foreseen Hunt's actions since he was in the process of being admitted to the hospital for mental evaluation.
Atttorneys for Casepro Inc. contend the emergency room staff had no indication that Hunt was a hostile patient in the two hours they met with him on the day of the crash.
David Hoyle, Delaney's attorney, called a state highway patrolman, the doctor who performed Miller's autopsy, a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office 911 dispatch employee and an employee of the hospital.
Several 911 tapes of the minutes it took Hunt to steal the fire truck were also played.
"Somebody has been run over," one caller said. "There was a man running through the parking lot and he said his brother has been run over."
Dr. Michael Caplan, the physician who performed Miller's autopsy, said Miller suffered many internal and external injures.
Before he ran, Hunt was treated by one doctor and two nurses on Casepro's payroll in the ER. Notes made by hospital employees said he had thoughts of harming himself and others.
However, according to Casepro's attorneys, Hunt did not say he had any specific plans to cause harm to himself or others. He also did not have a history of suicidal actions and acted like a model patient, those attorneys said.
In his opening statement, Hoyle said Miller and his brother were walking to get Cap'n Captain Crunch before Miller was struck by a Port Royal fire truck driven by Hunt.
Hoyle said Miller's death could have been avoided if a nurse had said "no" when Hunt asked to step outside to get some air.
"This is a lawsuit about responsibility," Hoyle said. "Tragically, this is a lawsuit about those who fail to treat our service members."
The lawsuit resumes Thursday morning. The seven-man, five-woman jury will decide the amount of damages awarded should it decide in Delaney's favor.
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