BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office took so long to issue a subpoena to a witness in a school bus accident case that the case was thrown out and the Palm Beach County School Bus Driver was cleared.
The delay raises questions as to whether PBSO is understaffed and mismanaged in its subpoena service unit, or if this could possibly be a case of county workers helping other county workers.
We reported on April 7th that Palm Beach County School Bus Driver Marc Eddy Drouinaud sped into the intersection of 441 and Kimberly Blvd., slammed on his brakes upon noticing a red light, then went into reverse without looking. He rear-ended a vehicle driven by an elderly woman. Kids were on the bus. PBSO responded. Fortunately, there were no injures, and Drouinaud was cited for “improper backing.”
A senior staffer of BocaNewsNow.com witnessed the accident and, at the request of the elderly woman, called 9-1-1. Police and fire rescue responded in mere moments.
But fast forward three months and imagine our surprise when the staffer received a subpoena this past Friday to appear in court on July 24th. To put it another way: the subpoena wasn’t served until nearly a week after the hearing. It wasn’t even issued until 48 hours before the hearing — almost guaranteeing that the witness wouldn’t be present.
It is unclear why the investigating officer would have waited nearly three months to issue a subpoena but the delay resulted in the case being thrown out, with the Court noting that “no witnesses were present.”
Again, the witness wasn’t subpoenaed until after the case was kicked.
We left a message for Deputy Antonio Bendeck at West Boca Raton’s District 7 in an effort to see if this was an error. We have received no response. We left a message for PBSO’s court “service” department which handles subpoena service. We have also heard nothing back. PBSO media relations tells us that the process servers — the people who deliver subpoenas — are tireless workers who often have backlogs, but we question what impact that has on the justice system.
As is clear in this case: if subpoenas aren’t served, justice isn’t served either.
We will update when we hear back from anyone involved with this case.