Orange County

Lawsuit filed against Orange County sheriff after deputy’s SUV stolen, crashed

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A year after 9 Investigates obtained video of a man stealing an Orange County Deputy’s patrol SUV, and then taking officers on a chase before crashing into an innocent driver, an innocent bystander who was seriously hurt in the incident is now suing the Sheriff’s Office.

Investigative Reporter Karla Ray spoke to the man’s attorney about his ongoing recovery, and why they believe the incident should have never happened.

The Sheriff’s Office only provided video of the incident to the man’s attorney after 9 Investigates asked about the case.  While the victim still doesn’t have vide of the pursuit itself, his legal team believes the deputy in charge of that SUV was negligent when he got out from behind the wheel with the keys still inside.

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When we first met Patrick Eduoard, he was a year into his “new” life.

“Mentally, it’s just demoralizing. Demoralizing. Especially when you’re so used to being able to get up and go, and do everything,” Eduoard said in December 2019.

The Apopka man struggled to even walk from one room to another, after driving on the wrong street at the wrong time.

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“I saw the car coming at me, but there was nothing I can do,” Eduoard said.

Minutes before the crash that would crush Eduoard’s left side, a Deputy’s Drivecam recorded his patrol SUV being hit from behind, by a man investigators would later learn was mentally disturbed and on the run in a stolen car.

When that Deputy got out to check on the person who hit him, the man rushed forward, jumped into the open door of the SUV, and took control.  After a 10-second struggle, the suspect was gone, and minutes later, he slammed into Eduoard head-on.

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“It just got completely out of control from the very beginning,” Attorney Tom DeLattre said.

Attorney Tom DeLattre just filed suit against the Sheriff’s Office, and the man who stole that SUV, on behalf of Eduoard, accusing both of negligence; specific to the Sheriff’s Office, for ‘allowing and permitting the man to gain access and ignition keys to the subject patrol vehicle that was in the care, custody and control of a deputy.’

“Once he made the decision to get out of his vehicle, take the keys,” DeLattre said.  “I think if he had taken his keys, and put it in his pocket, I don’t see how [this would have] happened.”

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Eduoard is still in physical therapy three times a week.  His hip was dislocated, and sciatic nerve stretched, and he still does not have regular use of his foot.

“This should never have happened, it’s unfortunate it did,” DeLattre said.

At the time we asked OCSO about this case last year, a spokesperson told us that a review of the situation determined that no deputies violated any policies when it came to the pursuit or taking of the vehicle.  The office does not comment on pending litigation.

Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.