Lawsuit Announced By FIU Bridge Collapse Survivor Against 7 Different Companies
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It's been eighteen days since the under construction FIU pedestrian bridge came crashing down on Southwest 8th Street, killing six and injuring nine.
19-year-old FIU student Richard Humble announced a lawsuit on Monday against seven companies involved in the design and construction of the bridge.
"I heard it first, and I looked up, and it was awful, because I saw the bridge just coming down on top of us," Humble said at an afternoon news conference with his attorney.
Humble was a passenger in the car of his best friend, 18-year-old Alexa Duran, a fellow student who was killed. She was driving him back from a medical appointment.
"She was like just the brightest light in my life," Humble said.
Humble said he called out his friend's name, over and over.
"I looked back at Alexa a couple of times and she wasn't saying anything, and I had her blood on me. I really didn't know what to do. She just wasn't moving," Humble said.
Humble suffered neck and other injuries. The lawsuit will focus on alleged negligence, and why the companies, who knew of cracks in the bridge, did not close busy 8th Street as they tightened steel rods on the cracked end.
"Did anybody ever raise their voice and say 'shut down the traffic while were inspecting this?' That's just a reasonable, logical thing to do," said Humble's attorney, Stuart Grossman.
Humble's parents say he has had hysterical breakdowns since the tragedy.
"He is a 19-year-old who can't take a shower without screaming and crying. I've had to go in and get him out of the shower," said Humble's mother, Lourdes.
Humble says he has flashbacks, and the disaster has never left his mind.
"I think about it every time I drive under something like that, and it's scary," Humble said.
After a waiting period required by law, Grossman said FIU and the Florida Department of Transportation would be added to the defendants in the lawsuit.
Grossman questioned why FIU gave Miami-based MCM construction the contract to oversee the building of the bridge, claiming the firm had no experience in that kind of bridge work.
Shortly after the release of CBS4's report, MCM released the following statement:
"We are all anxious to see the results of the NTSB's investigation into this tragic accident. We also wanted to clarify what was said by the attorney at today's press conference. MCM and its design-build team have extensive experience building post tension bridges and MCM is pre-qualified by the FDOT for major post tension bridge construction."
Meanwhile, Alexa Duran's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against MCM, FIGG Engineering and seven other subcontractors associated with the project.
The Duran family attorney, Alan Goldfarb, said the companies were negligent and reckless and failed to protect Alexa and the other victims.
The family plans to speak publicly Tuesday morning for the first time since filing the suit.
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