DELRAY BEACH — When Aliya Poliandro was T-boned in a Delray Beach intersection two years ago, the first police officer on the scene was already there. Because he was the driver who hit her after running a red light.
A lawsuit filed this week against the city of Delray Beach accuses Officer Edwin Hernandez of running a red light without lights or sirens on and smashing into another car, injuring its driver. The department’s traffic investigators faulted their officer for running the red light. Poliandro, now 24, was seriously injured, according to court documents.
Now the Lake Worth resident is seeking $200,000 in damages, the maximum allowed by state law, to cover her medical expenses and additional damages, according to her lawyer.
An investigation by Delray Beach Police traffic investigators at the time said their own officer was at fault. The accident report says that the officer was distracted when he hit Poliandro around 8:45 p.m. on July 27, 2020, and that neither driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
That report, provided to the South Florida Sun Sentinel by Poliandro’s attorney, said the crash was captured by the officer’s in-car dashboard camera.
Poliandro suffered herniations and severe injuries to her neck, back, shoulder and elsewhere.
Her lawyer says that in early talks with the city, they had sought a certain amount of money and the city counter-offered with an amount he said was unreasonably low.
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“We filed this lawsuit because we believe in our client, we believe in her injury, we believe in her qualified medical care treatment … and there was significant property damage,” David Rich, Poliandro’s attorney, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel Wednesday. “When you put that all together, we do not believe the offer that was made was reasonable, fair or would compensate our client for her severe injuries.”
Rich is seeking a jury trial in this case.
Photos from the scene show both cars badly damaged, with the front end of Hernandez’s marked police cruiser crunched, damage to the left side of Poliandro’s Volkswagen sedan and airbags deployed in both cars.
It was not immediately clear if Hernandez was cited for that crash or disciplined by his department.
A Delray Police Department spokesman said Wednesday that the crash was still under investigation and as a result, they couldn’t comment on it or provide any reports, videos or other records. Hernandez has been employed by the department since December 2019 and makes $65,382.66 per year, according to that department spokesman.
Government agencies typically do not comment on pending litigation.
Austen Erblat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-599-8709 or on Twitter @AustenErblat.