Navy Hospital Sued|for Bizarre Accident

     BEAUFORT, S.C. (CN) – A U.S. Naval Hospital in South Carolina allowed a Marine with post-traumatic stress disorder to escape, get naked and steal a city fire engine, with which he seriously injured another driver, the hurt man claims in court.
     Plaintiff Jonas Armstrong claims that Kalvin Hunt, the former Marine corporal who caused the accident, was drummed out of the service in April 2011 after a court-martial in which he was found guilty of assault, communicating a threat, resisting arrest, and other charges.
     Armstrong sued Case Pro Inc.; the U.S. Naval Hospital in Beaufort, S.C.; the United States, and the South Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs, in Federal Court. Kalvin Hunt is not a defendant.
     According to the lawsuit, on Feb. 24, 2012, Hunt’s grandmother called Beaufort County Veterans Affairs Officer Edward Ray to report that her grandson was acting erratically and making threats.
     “As the Veterans Affairs officer in Beaufort, Edward Ray was familiar with Kalvin Hunt’s disability, prior history of threats and conditions, and based on this information of renewed threats, arranged to meet his grandmother and Kalvin Hunt to evaluate his condition and determine the level of hospitalization required,” Armstrong says in the lawsuit.
     “During this interview … Kalvin Hunt disclosed to Edward Ray … that he wanted to hurt himself and others, which he had threatened in pervious episodes,” Armstrong adds.
     Despite Hunt’s threats, Armstrong claims, Ray failed to “notify law enforcement, the Department of Mental Health, or take any affirmative action reasonably necessary under the circumstance to ensure that Kalvin Hunt did not hurt others.”
     Instead, employees of contract defendant Case Pro escorted Hunt to the emergency room of the U.S. Naval Hospital, where, “inexplicably … [they] allowed Hunt to leave the facility unescorted,” Armstrong claims.
     “Specifically, Kalvin Hunt asked to get a quick breath of fresh air and with the consent, acquiescence, and/or permission of personnel employed by defendant USNH, defendant Case Pro, as well as Edward Ray, Kalvin Hunt exited the facility at a side or back door and alone,” according to the complaint.
     “After exiting the facility, Kalvin Hunt removed some or all of his clothing and left the USNH property on foot, running past the security or sentry post or guard house and its guards.
     “At about the same time, the Town of Port Royal Fire Department was responding to a non-fire emergency call at the Laurel Hill Apartment Complex located near the USNH where they had left a fire truck running and unattended.
     “A naked or partially naked Kalvin Hunt jumped into the unoccupied fire truck and drove it onto the well-traveled four-lane highway known as Ribault Road from the apartment complex parking lot.”
     Almost immediately, Armstrong claims, “Kalvin Hunt, operating the stolen fire truck, suddenly and without warning struck plaintiff Jonas Armstrong’s vehicle with the fire truck with such force that it destroyed the truck and injured plaintiff.”
     Armstrong seeks compensatory and punitive for negligence, breach of duty, failure to follow established policies and failure to protect the public from a known threat of harm.
     He is represented by Thomas Goldstein, with Belk, Cobb, Infinger & Goldstein in North Charleston, S.C., and Paul Infinger of Beaufort.

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