Local attorneys planning another round of fight for victims of deadly crash
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Armed with some of the evidence that he and Darryl Parks presented to a jury to win a $37 million judgment for two families that suffered fatal losses in an accident six years ago, Roosevelt Randolph straightened his shoulders in the chair where he sat.
The look on his face was stoic. His voice rang with determination, explaining that he and Parks will go the long haul to recoup payment of the verdict.
The two Tallahassee attorneys fought the case for six years before getting a verdict this past week. They are preparing for another round against the Texas-based manufacturers of the synthetic drug known as spice.
“We were just determined that we are not going to let this one go,” said Randolph, a partner in the Knowles & Randolph law firm. “We’re going to keep fighting until we get some justice for this family.
“These are good people. In this instance it’s more than just a case. It’s not about the money and this is one we are going to keep going after.”
Randolph and Parks were hired soon after the 2012 accident that took the lives of 9-year-old Vincent Vickers, his friend Tyler Biggins, 10, and Vickers’ mother Shakelia Vickers. Christopher Generoso was sentenced to 22 years in prison for DUI vehicular manslaughter.
The discovery that Generoso was driving at a high rate of speed with spice in his system set off the suit that resulted in the settlement — $27 million for the Vickers family and $10 for the Biggins’.
Generoso slammed into the families’ vehicle while they waited on a red light at the intersection of North Monroe and Tennessee streets. The impact crushed the rear of the vehicle into the middle row of the SUV. Vince Vickers, who was driving at the time, is the only survivor of the horrific crash.
In part, the attorneys said they are pushing the case to the next level because they’ve built relationships with the families beyond just being clients. In fact, Parks said, he visited the Vickers’ graves just days before the verdict was rendered.
“I made a promise to them that I would speak for them,” he said, “that I would do my best to really tell their story.”
While the attorneys were able to win an out-of-court settlement against the retailer that sold the drug to Generoso, they say justice will only be reached when the manufacturer pays the verdict.
That, however, could make for another lengthy round of litigations. DZE was shut down by the federal government for making an illegal drug, having its assets seized in the process. Both Parks and Randolph said their only option now is to go after owners of the company.
They own several other businesses, the attorneys said.
“This company was found guilty of a crime,” Parks said. “When people do bad things, then shut it down and run and say we are not responsible, it’s wrong.”
In rendering its verdict in Tallahassee last week, the jury found that the manufacturer DZE was 65 percent liable and Generoso was 35 percent. The verdict is believed to be one of the largest awarded in a civil suit heard by a jury in Tallahassee.
In part, both attorneys said they are continuing the fight for the victims because the company was reckless in manufacturing a drug, using the substance known as AM2201. It’s derivative of the banned substance KW018.
While the packaging warned consumers that the drug is to be used only as a potpourri, it was purchased primarily for smoking by Generoso. It’s a cheap concoction that’s mixed in a five-gallon bucket – not a lab, Randolph said.
“They figured they could do it and make a quick buck,” Parks said. “You have to hold those kinds of people accountable.
“It’s wrong. When you think about it, this case had a big impact on this community. The lives that were lost were very significant.”