St. Petersburg, FL – A victim's insurance company paid out a large sum to the family of teens who crashed a stolen vehicle into their victim, leaving him in a wheelchair.
On August 6, four teens in a stolen, speeding car crashed into a vehicle being driven by Ricky Melendez.
Melendez survived the crash, but is now confined to a wheelchair with increasing medical bills, according to Fox 13.
Geico, Melendez’ insurance company, has paid $20,000 as a payout to the families of the teens, even though they were responsible for the crash.
The insurance company has paid nothing to Melendez, whose medical bills are now over $50,000.
The crash occurred at the intersection of Tampa Road and US 19 in the early morning hours of August 6. Melendez was on his way to work, and sitting at a red light.
Four teens, including the 16-year-old driver, were speeding in a stolen vehicle when they crashed into Melendez’ car.
The teens had been on an all-night crime spree, and their combined criminal records totaled more than 100 arrests.
The teens’ stolen vehicle rolled several times after the crash, and then caught fire. Three teens died inside the vehicle, including the driver.
The fourth teen was thrown through the windshield and survived.
Melendez said that he “relives the nightmare daily.”
He said, “I might not be here right now and it’s really hard to think about something like that.”
In the police report, Melendez was determined to have no fault in the crash.
He said that even though he wasn’t found at fault that his insurance costs will most likely go up. Mark Roman, Melendez’ attorney, is trying to find out who filed the claim.
Roman said, “I would love to look in the eyes of the family accepting the money and ask them if they can sleep at night.”
Melendez said that not receiving assistance from Geico “just ripped his heart out.” He said that it was “a punch in the gut.”
He said that he just wanted to get his story out, and that he doesn’t want or expect a profit.