Clearwater man claims injury during heroic runaway golf cart rescue

in Local Courts/Top Headlines by

A Clearwater man who saved a group of residents from a runaway golf cart in his apartment complex is suing for injuries sustained during the rescue.

Robert Pierce, 67, is a resident of Arbors at Belleair, an apartment complex that leases one-bedroom and two-bedroom units at 2230 Nursery Road in Clearwater. He has lived at the Arbors since at least 1988.

In a suit filed March 31 in Pinellas County Circuit Court, Pierce says he was walking through the Arbors complex around Oct. 1, 2016, while an unidentified caretaker began loading doors onto a golf cart.

After one of the “improperly loaded” doors accidentally hit the accelerator, Pierce alleges the driverless cart began moving forward toward residents sitting in complex’s courtyard.

To save the residents, Pierce claims to have reached inside and moved the steering wheel, successfully diverting the golf cart into some bushes.

In doing so, however, Pierce says he suffered “severe and permanent injuries.”

Pierce is now asking the court to award damages for mental and physical pain, lost earnings, past and future medical care, and for suffering “the inability to lead a normal life.”

He is suing Tapout Group, which had done business as Arbors at Belleair. Yet Tapout Group LLC voluntarily dissolved in 2013. RIFAI Properties, which is not named in the suit, purchased the complex in 2012 for $6.6-million. Rifai’s managers are Hany and Giliane Rifai. Court records do not show why Pierce believes Tapout Group still owns the complex.