The city of Gainesville has settled a lawsuit with a woman for $100,000 after she was struck by a police car in 2019 while crossing Atlanta Highway, according to court documents.
Vickie Barber initially sued the city of Gainesville and the officer in June 2021, though the officer was later dismissed as a defendant in the case.
According to the lawsuit, Barber was trying to cross Atlanta Highway after 9 p.m. June 18, 2019, between Hazel Street and the intersection with Westside Drive.
In the lawsuit, Barber said she suffered “serious, painful and debilitating injuries to her body that had a significant impact on her life and ability to function normally.” She claimed $721,000 in medical expenses.
The lawsuit was settled May 24, which was paid through the city’s insurance, Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company.
Gainesville Police dash cam footageWARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT. This dash cam footage released by the Gainesville Police Department shows the moment of impact when a pedestrian is struck by a police vehicle on Atlanta Highway on June 18, 2019.
“All settlements are compromises,” Barber’s attorney Charles E. Johnson III said. “That’s the nature of how we get cases resolved, but this is going to make a life-changing difference to a very vulnerable person.”
Jerry Deyton, who ran The Way day center in Gainesville for many years, said Barber stayed with him for a few months while she was working through the case. Deyton has known Barber for roughly 12 years while she has been homeless.
Deyton said Barber was doing well and trying to reconnect with family, using the settlement as a way “to get a new start.” The Times has reached out to Barber through Deyton and others to discuss the case.
“It’s going to change (her life) completely,” Deyton said, adding that she’s trying to buy a new home.
Barber was charged in State Court with pedestrian under the influence of alcohol and improper crossing of a roadway by a pedestrian from the incident. She took a plea deal in exchange for time served in May 2021.
The driver of the 2017 Ford Explorer police vehicle was Brittany Frantzreb. She was not injured. Frantzreb left the department in September 2021, and now works in code enforcement for the city. The Times asked the police department for a sitdown interview with Chief Jay Parrish and the officer.
Lt. Kevin Holbrook said the chief would instead release the following statement:
“This situation was an accident which had many contributing factors. It should stand as a reminder of the dangers of crossing a highway and the importance of crosswalks. At the end of the day it’s a conclusion to a dispute that is behind us and we are ready to move forward.”
The Times also reached out via phone and email to the city’s attorney in the case, Sun Choy, but those requests were not returned.