Opening statements underway in trial for sunbather run over on Volusia beach

By Loren Korn - Reporter
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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Opening statements are underway in the civil trial of a woman suing Volusia County after she was run over by a beach patrol pickup truck in 2011.


The six-person jury, along with two alternate jurors, were seated just before 5 p.m. Monday. Opening statements will start on Tuesday at 11 a.m. The jury consists of five women and three men.

36-year-old Erin Joynt's attorney, John Phillips, spoke to the jury about their family vacation of fun in the sun. But, it turned into a nightmare when a part-time lifeguard ran over Joynt while she was sunbathing. Joynt suffered from permanent brain damage, facial paralysis, hearing loss, among other injuries. Her attorney also showed the jury photos from that day on the beach.

"Mrs. Joynt's injuries were painful, progressive, permanent, her losses altered her daily life," said Phillips. "The evidence will undoubtedly show her life will never be the same."

Attorney Larry Smith, who is representing Volusia County then spoke to the jury, focusing on Joynt's health after the accident.

"The evidence I'm going to show you will demonstrate the extraordinary recovery," he said, adding that months later, Joynt went to school, graduated, worked and traveled.

"It's less than 50 days from the accident and she's appearing on national TV," Smith said.

A chiropractor, who was an eye witness and helped Joynt at the accident also testified, along with her eye doctor. Joynt's eye doctor discussed the seriousness of her eye injuries.

The civil trial is to figure out how much money Joynt should receive. So far, it's unknown how much she is asking.

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