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Mother Sues Town, Ambulance Company Over Son's Death

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The mother of Joshua Negron, a 15-year-old who was fatally hit by a car in 2004, is suing Hartford, Conn., and a local ambulance company, claiming they did not properly react to his injuries.

Ramona Lopez, who filed the lawsuit last month in Superior Court in Hartford, alleges the town and its employee, the Ambulance Service of Manchester LLC, did not properly care for Joshua, who was hit by a car Aug. 28, 2004.

The lawsuit claims that Joshua needed the services of the critical care trauma unit at Hartford Hospital and should have been airlifted there by LifeStar helicopter. The lawsuit says the ambulance company and the town did not use diligence in assessing Joshua s injuries and wasted valuable time by taking Joshua to Hartford Hospital by ambulance.

In the lawsuit, Lopez claims that Joshua s injuries and the defendants negligence cost Joshua his life.

Wayne Wright, president of Ambulance Service of Manchester, said he could not comment on the lawsuit. Town officials have said they do not comment on lawsuits.

Lopez could not be reached for comment. A phone call to her attorney was not returned.

According to the lawsuit, the town dispatched the request for a secondary medical service, which is Ambulance Service of Manchester, instead of using its primary first responders, the town fire department.

The lawsuit also says that, since Lopez is the next friend of the decedent, she became responsible for the expenses of Joshua s funeral and has suffered pecuniary loss as a result of his death.

According to witnesses and police reports at the time, a man named Cory Smith, who was then 24, was involved in a dispute with some youths on Foster Street. During the argument, the youths chased Smith. Smith later drove to the neighborhood, accompanied by Robert Saddler and a woman, both of whom lived nearby. They went looking for the youths, found them on Spruce Street and drove directly at them. No one was hurt. Shortly after, all three got out of the car and some youths from the group chased Smith away. Saddler and the woman got back into the car, with Saddler driving, and he drove at Joshua, struck him, backed up and drove forward again. Police have said that Joshua had not been involved in the dispute.

In 2004, Saddler, who was then 40, was charged with capital felony in Joshua s death and, according to the state s judicial branch docket, the case has not been resolved.

In 2006, Smith was sentenced to five years in prison, followed by six years of special parole, after pleading guilty under the Alford doctrine to criminal attempt to commit first-degree assault. Pleading guilty under the Alford doctrine means he did not admit guilt but conceded that the prosecution probably has enough evidence to convict.

Joshua s death prompted outrage in the neighborhood at the time, and friends and family planted a pear tree in his honor on vacant land at Spruce and Birch streets two months after he was killed. A month after her son s death, Lopez presented the police department with a plaque to show her thanks for the support the police gave her and the neighborhood.

Lopez is seeking more than $15,000 in damages and is requesting a jury trial. The town has until Dec. 11 to respond to the suit.

Contact Regine Labossiere at rlabossiere@courant.com

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