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$45 Million Verdict Against Florida Construction Firm

Highway construction company had no workzone traffic safety plan

October 30, 2017

Around 11:30 p.m. on May 28, 2015, Ranger Construction Industries told its driver, Juan Calero, to leave a fully loaded, 80,000-pound tractor trailer in the median of I-75 in Broward County, Florida. Calero was then instructed to take a flatbed trailer loaded with concrete barrier wall segments to another location, about a mile away.

Calero, facing northbound in the median, attempted to make a u-turn crossing all four southbound lanes of I-75 oncoming traffic.  As Calero attempted to make the turn, 29-year old Raymond Astaphan's Mitsubishi struck the tractor trailer, shearing off the car's roof and killing him.

According to testimony, Ranger Construction had been given verbal warnings about not having a safe means of exiting its construction site, which should have included lane closure, lighting, supervision and the assistance of the Florida Highway Patrol.

Instead, Ranger Construction blamed its truck drivers for the difficulty entering and exiting the site.

After a four week trial, a jury found Ranger Construction and driver Calero negligent, causing the death of Astaphan.  According to the Sun-Sentinel, Ranger Construction Industries was ordered to pay $35 million in damages and Calero was ordered to pay an additional $10,005,000.

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