A St. Petersburg police officer rushing to an accident scene sped through a red light and smashed into a man’s car, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Before the accident, the injured man had earned his living in part by being a clown. His father was a clown, and his father before that.
The man’s doctor told a jury that the force of the collision gave him arm, neck, and spine injuries that sidelined him, making him unable to work either as a clown or a cabdriver.
The man blames his injuries on an early morning crash on May 10, 2005. Driving a taxicab to help pay bills clowning could not cover, the 61-year-old man was struck by a police cruiser rushing to a scene.
The clown sued for $100,000 in medical expenses. The city offered a $20,000 settlement. The clown refused.
A jury awarded him $5,000 last summer, and on Wednesday, it got worse for the clown.
A Pinellas County circuit court judge decided the clown should have to pay St. Petersburg $23,162 in legal fees and court costs.
When he found out, the clown cried, “I didn’t do anything wrong. I was the person injured, and now I’m the one told, ‘You have to pay.’ ”
In Florida, if plaintiffs aren’t awarded 75 percent of what was offered in an earlier settlement, they are responsible for fees and costs.