Local firefighter files $500,000 lawsuit against FWC after airbo - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Local firefighter files $500,000 lawsuit against FWC after airboat accident in the Everglades

COOPER CITY, Fla. - What was supposed to be a day on the water for two firefighters, turned into a nightmare for Shawn Levine and Herbert Tyler.

“It's impacted my life individually and then it's impacted our lives together as well,” Tyler says.

The couple was traveling down a narrow channel in the Everglades back in February.

They say a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission air boat was coming their way.

“We were traveling westbound, and she came from the south, so she kind of came in our line of traffic,” Levine says.

The boats collided, hurling Shawn into the water - but that wasn't the end of it.

“As I looked up, my head was out of the water, and I saw her come right across my body and run me over,” Levine says.

The crash left her seriously injured.

“I felt down in my knee and I felt a lot of flesh,” she says. “So I opened up my jeans because they were ripped and I saw that my whole knee was ripped open.”

Shawn has undergone 4 surgeries in the past 7 months.

Herbert's injuries were serious as well.

“I received a concussion, torn shoulder and neck and back injuries,” he says.

Herbert and Shawn both say the person who hit them wasn't so quick to help.

“She wasn't willing to put us on the boat,” Tyler says. “She didn't even call 911 or anything at the time.”

The accident report from that February day from the Broward Sheriff's Office ruled the collision was an accident -- and no one was at fault.

However, the couple is seeking $500,000 dollars in damages - and hoping for change they say goes beyond the money.

“I would love to see the state held accountable for their actions,” Tyler says. “I would like to see that the employees who are operating these vessels be trained properly so that no one has to go through what we went through.”

Herbert has been cleared to go back to work as a firefighter in West Palm Beach.

Shawn, a Ft. Lauderdale firefighter, hasn't been back to work since the accident - and isn't 100 percent sure if she will ever again.

The attorneys representing the couple, Pike & Lustig, LLP, tell me FWC still hasn't responded to their lawsuit.

FWC tells us it is aware of the situation, but can't comment on pending litigation.

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