Injured firefighter sues driver

By PRESTON GILL pgill@daily-review.com

Morgan City volunteer firefighter Travis Bourdier, who was injured while he was working at the scene of a wreck near midnight on Sept. 28, is suing the driver of the vehicle that reportedly struck him
Morgan City Police Chief Travis Crouch said the driver, Daniel Ramirez, 38, of Lake Palourde Road in Amelia, had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 grams-percent, almost double the legal limit of 0.08 for operating a vehicle, when he struck Bourdier
“We just received the state police crime lab results this morning,” Crouch said today. “A warrant is being typed up right now for Ramirez’s arrest on anticipated charges of driving while intoxicated and vehicular negligent injury. An arrest should be made shortly.”
Bourdier was assisting St. Mary Parish sheriff’s deputies with diverting traffic caused from a crash in the westbound lanes of the U.S. 90 bridge near the La. 70 exit ramp at the time he was injured.
Ramirez and three insurers are named as defendants in the suit filed in 16th Judicial District Court on Jan. 13 seeking unspecified damages for medical expenses, lost wages along with pain and suffering. Before his injuries, Bourdier was an inspector for Cameron.
Bourdier, a volunteer firefighter for Morgan City, Berwick, Bayou Vista and Patterson, along with being an auxiliary police officer for Patterson, suffered two broken legs.
Ramirez was driving a 2007 Nissan Maxima at a high rate of speed, struck a fire truck blocking both lanes of traffic and then pinned Bourdier between the Ramirez vehicle and the highway guardrail, the suit stated. Bourdier went over the guardrail and into the opposite lane of traffic headed eastbound on U.S. 90, the suit stated.
Included in the lawsuit as defendants are State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, which insured the Ramirez vehicle; American Alternative Insurance, which insured the fire department vehicle; and Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, which insured Bourdier’s 2013 vehicle that he drove to the scene.
Bourdier’s wife, Becky, and his children, Skyler and Tyler, are plaintiffs in the suit seeking claims for loss of companionship.
In the months since the accident, Bourdier has had three surgeries. Several groups have reached out to help Bourdier meet his mounting expenses including a donation from the Knights of Columbus Council 1710 in Patterson. The Berwick and Bayou Vista volunteer fire departments have held boot shakes.
Numerous benefits for Bourdier have been held including those through Domino’s, Divine Donuts and Rita Mae’s and a benefit checking account was opened at Whitney Bank for Bourdier. The Patterson Police Department held a blood drive for him.
Bayou Vista Fire Chief Ricky Roberts said the Bayou Vista volunteers held a raffle with prize donations from Aucoin’s Hardware, Tiger Island Hardware and Aaron’s Rent-to-Own.
“It is always a dangerous thing that we do. Every time you go out on a call there is a possibility you may not return,” Roberts said of being a firefighter. “The simplest call might turn out to be a nightmare.”
The incident has led the fire department to reexamine its procedures and search for ways that can better ensure responders safety, Roberts said.
“It was a reminder of how quickly things can change on the scene as well as in life,” he said.
Firefighters are a “unique breed” and feel a kinship with each other no matter what department they serve in, Roberts said.
“We are focused on him getting recovered and getting back in service,” Roberts said.

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