Military Hospital Faces Lawsuit for Patient Escape
BEAUFORT, S.C. — A man injured in a crash involving a fire truck that was allegedly stolen by a Marine who escaped Naval Hospital Beaufort has filed a lawsuit against the medical facility and others, citing negligence.
In his lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court, Jonas Armstrong claims the hospital should have prevented Kalvin Hunt, a former Marine, from fleeing the hospital and stealing a fire truck in 2012. During the incident, Hunt crashed into six cars, including Armstrong’s vehicle, then hit and killed a pedestrian while driving the fire truck. Armstrong suffered a leg injury and his SUV was completely totaled, according to The State.
Hunt had been staying at the hospital since Feb. 24 2012, after his mother called authorities and said he was acting erratically. The lawsuit alleges that although the Veterans Affairs officer monitoring Hunt knew the patient had a history of threatening to harm himself or others, the officer allowed Hunt to step outside and “get a quick breath of fresh air” without supervision.
Armstrong, has filed the lawsuit against Naval Hospital, Hunt, the town of Port Royal, the city of Beaufort, the South Carolina Division of Veteran Affairs, CasePro — a Texas corporation contracted by the Naval Hospital — and the federal government. Armstrong, who did not have insurance during the incident, owes $12,000 in medical bills. He seeks actual damages from all defendants and punitive damages from CasePro.
For his part, Hunt, who was dishonorably discharged and now awaits trial for murder and 10 other offenses stemming from the incident, denies all allegations. He is currently being evaluated by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health to determine if he is mentally capable to stand trial.
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