The story of the speeding BSO police cruiser that killed 14-year-old Cara Catlin last Saturday in Oakland Park is hauntingly similar to the case of Eric Brody, the 18-year-old boy who 12 years ago turned into the oncoming path of a Broward sheriff's deputy named Christopher Thieman on his way to roll call, resulting in a crash that left Brody brain-damaged and partially paralyzed.
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As in the Brody case, BSO Deputy Frank McCurrie was driving well in excess of the speed limit -- 70 mph in a 45-mph zone -- without either flashing lights or siren on a dark road when the driver of the car in which Catlin was riding, Heather Myer, made a left-hand turn,
failing to yield to oncoming traffic. As the Brody lawyers conclusively showed during that trial, it is exceptionally difficult to accurately judge the speed of an oncoming car at night. The impact of the crash was so great that the girls' car, a 1996 Honda Civic, was torn apart and Catlin was thrown onto the road.
In contrast to the Brody case, however, Deputy McCurrie has been reassigned to a desk job during the investigation, marking a shift from BSO's former policy, according to the Miami Herald (in the former case, BSO left the officer on patrol duty). But BSO is conducting its own investigation, which proved problematic in the Brody case. In that case, there were no witnesses to the crash.
The Brody family has fought for years to force BSO's insurer to compensate Eric for his catastrophic injuries. The Brodys have one comfort, though: At least their son is alive.