Miami-Dade County

Triathlete was killed on the busway. Bill compels Miami-Dade to pay $1.45 million.

The Miami-Dade busway in 2011.
The Miami-Dade busway in 2011. El Nuevo Herald File

State law limits how much a government can pay in a lawsuit.

But on Wednesday, the Florida Senate voted to give final approval to a bill that compels Miami-Dade County commissioners to pay $1.45 million to the estate of Eric Scott Tenner.

The bill passed the Senate 34-2, with Sen. George Gainer, R-Panama City, and Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville opposed.

The claim bill also passed the House 111-3 on April 11. House Representatives opposing were Mike Beltran, R-District 57; Cary Pigman, R-District 55; and Rene Plasencia, R-District 50.

The next step is for Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign the bill.

The additional $1.45 million sought by Senate Bill 6513, which was sponsored by Rep.. Daniel Perez, whose 116th House District includes parts of Miami-Dade, is a part of a $1.75 million settlement between the county and Tenner’s estate.

Miami-Dade already paid $300,000 but needed the legislative approval to pay the total.

According to a special master’s report released by the House in March, Tenner, a husband and father of two sons — then 8 and 9 — was riding his bicycle on the busway that runs parallel to South Dixie Highway when a Miami-Dade County transit bus ran him over from behind on Oct. 2, 2014.

Biking on the busway is prohibited, but there is a designated path for cyclists and pedestrians on the west side of the busway. Though Tenner was on the roadway and “illegally biking on the busway,” the court ruled that the bus driver had “a duty to use reasonable care to prevent injuring persons within the vehicle’s path.”

The flashing light on the rear of Tenner’s bike was still operating when rescue crews and officers arrived.

Tenner was training for a triathlon at the time. He died at Kendall Regional Hospital three days after the crash. He was 45.

“The driver of the bus, Jose Sequeira, did not stop after hitting Mr. Tenner but instead continued on his route,” the report said. A bus driver who was tailing Sequeira’s bus saw the crash and radioed Sequeira to return to the scene.

The process of rescuing victims if they get trapped after a car crash can be difficult. This is how firefighters do it.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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