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Post Office Crashes: A Nationwide Epidemic?

HOUSTON (CN) - A woman who was injured when an elderly driver crashed through a post office storefront says in federal court that such accidents have become an "epidemic."

Minh Sullivan claims that she was standing in the lobby of a Missouri City, Texas, post office on Nov. 9, 2010, as 76-year-old Antonia Jacotin crashed through the building's glass windows.

"Sullivan, who was in the lobby, was struck by and slammed to the floor by a wall of large, heavy, metal postal boxes that came down on her as the result of the impact of the car crash," according to Sullivan's complaint in the Southern District of Texas.

"Sullivan sustained multiple, complex facial fractures that required surgery and the implantation of three plates with corresponding screws in the right side of her face, facial lacerations, significant facial soft tissue crush; a pelvic fracture; a fracture of the left hip socket; a left comminuted fibular fracture; right rib fractures; nervous system injury; a concussion and other permanent brain damage."

Given the "systemic history of motor vehicle crashes into post office buildings that caused near injury and actual injury to and even the deaths of postal service customers, invitees, and employees, the Postal Service ... knew or should have known that its post office buildings and premises were unsafe," Sullivan adds.

Such accidents have reached an "epidemic level," especially in Florida where the Postal Service has released a "public service announcement asking Floridians to please stop crashing into post offices and even included a tip sheet on how not to crash into postal facilities," according to the complaint.

To bolster her claims, Sullivan cites 66 reports of vehicles crashing into post offices across the country from 1999 to 2012.

Drivers age 60 and over caused 25 of the 66 accidents that Sullivan cited in her complaint.

Nine states allegedly experienced such accidents in 2012.

In Florida, "there have been eight completely unrelated incidents where someone crashed a car into a post office," according to the complaint. "But that statistic only covers Central Florida. The rest of the state is another story." (Emphasis in original.)

In Georgia, one such accident allegedly occurred on June 18, 2012.

"Sylvia Daniels, 67, of Sylvester was fortunate to suffer no injuries as bricks plummeted on her vehicle when she crashed into the Sylvester Post Office building this morning," the complaint states.

A similar accident allegedly occurred a week earlier in California.

"June 13, 2012," the complaint states. "A car crashed into a post office on Wednesday morning, according to officials. The black SUV rammed into the Hillcrest Post Office on the 3900 block of Cleveland Avenue just before 12:30 p.m., shattering glass of a large window."

In Ohio, on Sept. 5, 2012, "one person was hurt today when a sport utility vehicle slammed into the front of the U.S. Post Office on Tremainsville Road about 3:51 p.m," the complaint states.

"This is the second time in a little more than three years that a vehicle has run into that post office," it continues. "In 2009, a car smashed into a window. The driver told police she accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake." (pg. 11)

Sullivan says the reports are just a sample of post office crashes since 1999, as she "believes the number of crashes is substantially higher."

She seeks damages for premises liability and wants the Postal Service to pay her medical bills. Sullivan is represented by Mark Croley of Houston.

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