Mississippi Jury Awards $1.25M to Trooper Hurt in Off-Duty Accident

April 21, 2017

A jury has awarded $1.25 million to a Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper whose left leg was partially amputated because of an off-duty motorcycle accident.

A Jackson County jury handed down the verdict last week against two construction companies that left a low ramp across a Pascagoula road in 2010. The Sun Herald reported.

Marvin Henderson’s lawsuit said he hit the obstruction at night while returning from the gym. He was thrown from his motorcycle, and his foot and lower leg were crushed. The damaged portion was amputated 11 months later, and he uses a prosthetic leg.

The ramp covered a conduit the companies were using to move water and sewage across the road. Attorneys said the drainage system was blocked by barricades during the day but not at night.

Henderson is now a Highway Patrol investigator.

Attorneys tried the case in Circuit Judge Robert Krebs’ courtroom. Jurors on Thursday originally calculated the award at more than $3 million, but then assigned responsibility to each party. They found Henderson was 60 percent responsible for the accident, so they reduced the award.

The $1.25 million stands out in politically conservative Jackson County, and an appeal is possible. Judges recalled a $15 million award in a drilling case and $2 million in a 1996 construction case, both involving death, but those were overturned.

“We’re not accustomed to those (large) awards,” said longtime Court Administrator Pat Smith.

Henderson is now 37. His attorneys and witnesses told jurors what his expenses and medical costs are expected to be the rest of his life.

“He’s a great guy, very resilient,” his attorney, Morgan Holder, said.

In 2012, two years after the accident, there was a report of Henderson stopping an armed robbery in Jackson. He was doing a driver’s license road test at Metrocenter Mall, when he heard a woman cry for help. He exchanged gunfire with a man who was fleeing. Even with a prosthetic leg, Henderson chased down a woman who was responsible for the getaway car.

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