Woman run over on beach testifies in court after filing lawsuit against city of Fort Lauderdale

'I just really thought I was going to die,' Rinda Mizelle says

By Roy Ramos - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Testimony got underway Tuesday in the case of a tourist who was run over by a beach patrol truck on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

The incident happened while the victim was on vacation in South Florida in 2012.

"I felt something really hard and grabbed my body on the left side," Rinda Mizelle said. 

Tears ran down the face of Mizelle, 49, as she remembered lying on Fort Lauderdale Beach six years ago when, from one moment to the next, she felt an excruciating pain.

"It was like something was twisting me, because it grabbed a hold of my leg," Mizelle said. 

In a Broward County courtroom Tuesday, witnesses described the moments they discovered Mizelle had been run over by a beach patrol truck in April 2012.

Landon Mamuel and his wife, Sherri Samuel, who were on vacation during the incident, testified during a civil trial that began Tuesday.  

"It was pressing against her. She had no place to go," Landon Samuel said. 

"I don't think she could move," Sherri Samuel said.  

Mizelle, a North Carolina teacher, filed a lawsuit against the city of Fort Lauderdale in 2013.  She is seeking damages in excess of $15,000, claiming the city was negligent. 

Mizelle claims Lt. Tracie Moll drove the city's beach patrol truck over her while she lay in the sand with a pair of shorts covering her face.

"I just really thought I was going to die," Mizelle said. 

Moll also testified, claiming she "straddled" Mizelle with the truck, but didn't strike her.

"She was directly underneath my truck. So the wheel went on either side of her -- never hit her," Moll said.

Mizelle's attorney showed his client's visible injuries to jurors.  

Mizelle listened to testimony from multiple witnesses, doctors and even a personal trainer who worked to rehabilitate her from her injures she and her family claimed have changed her life. 

"(It's) like somebody ripped the switch and turned the lights off," Mizelle said. 

The case is expected to continue in court Thursday. 

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