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A man from Michigan who left his car at a dealership to change oil and change tires is on trial after his car was involved in the death of one of the dealer’s employees.
Sergio Enrique Diaz-Navarro drove his 2019 Red Wrangler to the Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership on March 13, 2020, while 19-year-old lubrication technician Daniel Thompson worked on the car. After the service was completed, the vehicle “leaned forward” when a young employee tried to drive it by pressing 42-year-old mechanic Jeffrey Hawkins against an office, court records show.
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According to court records, Thompson lowered the jeep from the lift and then tried to start the car and let it idle to make sure there were no oil leaks around the filter.
“Thompson reached into the vehicle and pressed his right foot on the brake, keeping the other foot on the floor,” the plaintiff’s summary said. “He pressed the start button. When the car didn’t start, he took his foot off the brake and pressed the clutch pedal. He pressed the” start “button again. Outside the car. The car leaned forward.”
Hawkins was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries, according to The Kansas City Star.
In March 2021, Diaz-Navarro and Thompson were tried in Michigan District Court.
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Lawyer David Feminine, representing the Hawkins estate, told FOX 2 that Thompson did not know how to drive a mechanical transmission car and had no rights. The lawyer also said the representation could not be sued because of a legal standard that prevents an employee from suing his boss for negligence, which in this case would hire a person who should not have driven the car.
Because the incident took place at work and involved two employees, the boss could not be sued, notes FOX 2.
Diaz-Navarro’s lawyer told FOX 2 that he plans to fight the case in a trial later this month.
“If you hand over your car to someone, including a valet or a service worker at your local dealership, you better trust that person,” the lawyer said.
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Femminineo told McClatchy News that the owner of the car is responsible for Hawkins ’death in the same way that anyone who lent another person their car will be responsible for any injuries inflicted on the driver. He said the person who borrows his car is responsible for the negligent actions because he gave another person permission to use their car.
According to a summary filed in court on March 1, the court ordered the Chrysler Jeep Dodge Rochester Hills dealership where the incident took place to compensate Diaz-Navarro if he is found responsible for negligence.
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“So, in fact, the owner will be responsible, but the dealer’s insurance company pays,” Femminineo told McClatchy News. He said he hoped a sentence of more than $ 15 million would be handed down.