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Georgia County Pays $5.1 Million for Community Service Turned Deadly

On August 21, 2006, a Georgia state court awarded $5.1 Million to the family of a college student who was killed when he fell from a DeKalb County garbage truck while performing community service.

Vince Currid, 22, had been sentenced to 40 hours of unpaid slave labor, euphemistically referred to as community service, after being placed on probation for driving under the influence (DUI). County officials assigned Currid to work on the back of a garbage truck, but they gave him no training and failed to provide appropriate job-related equipment, including rain gear and boots. On October 22, 1999--his very first day at work--Currid fell from the rear of the vehicle while working in the rain. He suffered a fatal head injury.

?He was there to do 40 hours of community service, but they turned his 40 hours of community service into a death sentence,? said Sam Starks, one of the attorneys representing the family.

Furious at the way county officials acted both before and after the tragedy, the jury took less than four hours to reach the verdict. ?It was disgusting--they were arrogant, walking around like, ?this couldn?t possibly be our fault. We do this all the time,? ?said Vince Currid?s brother, Gregory Currid. ?They had no regard for someone?s life.?

Vince?s dad, Howard Currid, also expressed anger at the county?s arrogance. ?It was just denial, denial, denial,? he said. ?It just continues. It?s actually making me physically ill.?

Even though they have already fought to deny justice to Currid?s family for more than seven years, county officials say they plan to appeal the verdict. This shows they have no regard for taxpayers, either. With an interest rate of 11% tacked on by the judge, the decision could add another half a million dollars to the verdict during the six months to one year it will likely take for the appeal process.

?Elected officials of the county should be ashamed of what they are doing to put the taxpayers of DeKalb County through this extra burden and expense and also for putting the Currid family through this nightmare once again,? said attorney Clint Sitton, who also represented the family.

If the verdict is upheld, the family would like to use part of the $5.1 million award to honor Vince. ?I always wanted to form a foundation with Vince?s name on it and try to put in as much money as I can and try to use it for things Vince would have been interested in. ... He was the type of person who was very outgoing, very helpful.?

The foundation would probably fund scholarships and research into the type of blood clot that ultimately killed Vince, his father said. The family was represented by attorneys Sam Starks and Clint Sitton of the Atlanta law firm Martin & Jones. See: Currid v. DeKalb County, Georgia, Dekalb County Superior Court, unknown case no.

Sources: Atlanta Journal-Constitution,, Associated Press

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