$9.14 million Awarded to Woman Injured in Sherriff Crash

A judge has ruled that the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office should pay $9.14 million to a woman who sustained permanent brain damage from a crash with a deputy.

A judge ruled that Deputy Kenneth Petrillo was negligent in the January 2005 crash. He had been chasing a suspected drunken driver when he followed through a red light and hit Jennifer Wohlgemuth’s car. The crash sent five people to the hospital. Wohlgemuth’s attorney says the 25-year-old woman’s brain injury has left her unable to care for herself.

A sheriff’s spokesman says state law limits civil judgments against law enforcement agencies to $100,000, and the sheriff’s office has insurance to cover that. But Wohlgemuth’s attorney can file a special claim bill in the Florida Legislature to get the rest.

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