Court Rules Against Retired Soldier Who Lost Legs to Drunken Driver

3D rendering of gavel, law scales and books on a wooden table
3D rendering of gavel, law scales and books on a wooden table

The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled against a retired soldier who sued the state, an insurance company and a drunken driver following a car crash that took his legs and part of his hand.

The Court of Appeals dismissed this lawsuit, which was filed by retired Sgt. Maj. Jeremy Bruns and his wife, Jenny, in the wake of the November 2012 car crash in Fayetteville.

Jenny Bruns said on Tuesday evening that she and Jeremy will pursue another appeal.

"We're going to keep fighting," Jenny Bruns said. She was extremely upset about the ruling and said she thinks the courts in North Carolina are corrupt.

The Brunses have pursued this lawsuit without a lawyer; Jenny Bruns said they could not find one willing to represent them.

In 2012 the Brunses were stationed at Fort Bragg. Jeremy Bruns was in front of his house and loading his pickup truck with fishing gear when Rhonda Bryant crashed a car into him.

Bryant was drunk on alcohol and high on cocaine.

Bruns' legs and hand were crushed between the car and the truck. His injuries forced him to retire from a 22-year military career.

Bryant pleaded guilty in 2014 to felony serious injury by vehicle and and driving left of center. She was sentenced to serve at least 16 months in prison, but no more than 29 months, and she was released at 16 months.

The Brunses in November 2015 sued Rhonda Bryant, Bryant's husband Dalton Bryant Sr., their son Dalton Jr., the state of North Carolina, then-Gov. Pat McCrory, the N.C. secretary of transportation and the N.C. secretary of public safety. They also sued a courtroom transcript reporter and USAA, which was the Bryants' insurance company.

Among the Brunses' legal claims: the government should have kept Rhonda Bryant in prison longer, Dalton Sr. should not have let Rhonda drive his car, and USAA would not pay them enough compensation for the crash. The company offered $60,000, which it said was the maximum payout in the Bryants' policy.

Superior Court Judge Reuben Young dismissed the case in February 2016 and a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals, judges Robert N. Hunter Jr., Wanda Bryant and Richard Dietz upheld Young's decision.

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