Local Military News

Mother of man killed in deadly Port Royal firetruck crash loses lawsuit

Kalvin Hunt, 26, of Sumter, is brought into court for a bond hearing at the Beaufort County Courthouse on March 2, 2012. Hunt left Naval Hospital Beaufort during a mental evaluation the previous week and stole a Port Royal fire truck. He struck and killed a pedestrian, Justin Miller.
Kalvin Hunt, 26, of Sumter, is brought into court for a bond hearing at the Beaufort County Courthouse on March 2, 2012. Hunt left Naval Hospital Beaufort during a mental evaluation the previous week and stole a Port Royal fire truck. He struck and killed a pedestrian, Justin Miller. The Beaufort Gazette

The mother of a man killed by a former Marine who stole a firetruck after running from Naval Hospital Beaufort in 2012 lost her wrongful death lawsuit Friday.

The suit was filed by Rebecca Delaney, the mother of 28-year-old Justin Miller, against the hospital's staff agency, CasePro Inc. The suit alleged CasePro was negligent in letting Kalvin Hunt escape from the hospital.

Hunt ran naked from the naval hospital Feb. 24, 2012, stole a Port Royal firetruck, caused several wrecks while driving on Ribaut Road and crashed into Miller, who was walking with his brother to a nearby store.

Hunt was found not guilty by reason of insanity in December.

In the civil case, which was heard in the Beaufort County Courthouse, the jury was tasked with determining whether the agency's staff could have foreseen Hunt's actions since he was in the process of being admitted for a mental evaluation.

After less than two hours of deliberation, the trial that lasted one and a half weeks ended with a verdict in CasePro Inc.'s favor, according to the agency's lawyer, Gary Lovell of the Carlock, Copeland & Stair Law Firm in Charleston.

CasePro's attorneys argued that hospital staff, who were on CasePro's payroll, had no indication that Hunt was a hostile patient during the two hours they met with him on the day of Miller's death.

David Hoyle, Delaney's attorney with Motley Rice LLC in Charleston, argued that hospital employees made notes that Hunt said he had thoughts of harming himself and others.

He also said Miller's death could have been avoided if a nurse had said "no" when Hunt asked to step outside to get some air at the hospital before he ran.

"We have the deepest respect for the family, and it has been an honor to represent them and help some of the facts surrounding the accident come to light," Hoyle said Monday. "Despite the outcome, more information has been made public that will hopefully help drive needed reforms in the federal health contractor industry, particularly for our veterans."

Follow Caitlin Turner on Twitter at twitter.com/Cait_E_Turner.

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