Local News

Family settles with Franklin County in mistaken death case

Posted September 30, 2009 11:53 a.m. EDT

Larry Donnell Green

— More than four years after a Franklin County man was mistakenly declared dead in a traffic accident and sent to the morgue in a body bag, his family has reached a $1 million legal settlement against the county and two paramedics.

Larry Donnell Green was walking along U.S. Highway 401 north of Louisburg when he was hit by a car on Jan. 24, 2005. Paramedics responding to the accident declared Green dead, although they didn't thoroughly examine him.

Green was zipped into a body bag and sent to the Franklin County morgue, where the coroner later saw him breathing. He has spent most of his time since then in a rehabilitation facility in Wilson. He's bed-ridden, can barely talk and will likely be that way for the rest of his life, family members have said.

Green's parents, Larry Alston and Ruby Kelly, sued the county, three emergency rescue squads, several paramedics and medical examiner Dr. J.B. Perdue in December 2007, alleging they were negligent and were responsible for his permanent injuries and the family's emotional distress.

Franklin County's insurance carrier recently reached a settlement with the family, which was approved by Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand. The bulk of the $1 million settlement will be placed in a trust to pay for Green's medical care, attorneys said.

"The matter has been resolved on the county's behalf by our insurance carrier. The county takes comfort in this matter being settled and understands the monies will go toward the continued care of Mr. Green," Franklin County Attorney Darnell Batton said in a statement.

The settlement covers the county, Franklin County EMS and paramedics Katherine Lamell and Paul Kilmer. The suit is still pending against Perdue, paramedics Wade Kearney and Pamela Hayes, emergency medical technician Ronnie Wood, first responder Phillip Grissom Jr., Louisburg Rescue and EMS and Epsom Fire and Rescue Association.

Kearney and Kilmer lost their state credentials after the incident, but they were later given the opportunity to regain some of them.