On June 4, 1984, near Port Saint Lucie, Florida, a horrific car accident left American Paul Coombs, a husband and father of three, dead. It was charged that a Bahamian Member of Parliament, ran a red light, causing the accident.
In June 1984, Maurice Moore, a Bahamian Member of Parliament, was also a top executive for National Car Rental, in the Bahamas. According to news reports, while Moore was in Florida, he was driving a rental car from the same company, which he was an executive of, at its Bahamas branch. While driving the rental car, on Monday morning, June 4, 1984, heading west on Thornhill Drive in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Moore, 44, ran a red light hitting a van driven by Paul Coombs, 45. Coombs died at the scene.
(Palm Beach Post, Saturday, June 9, 1984)
OCTOBER 1984 – MEMBER OF BAHAMAS PARLIAMENT FINED $500 FOR TRAFFIC DEATH. FAMILY FILES $5 MILLION DOLLAR CIVIL LAWSUIT
By October 1984, some four months after the fatal car accident, Maurice Moore Member of Parliament for the High Rock District in Grand Bahama, pleaded no contest to the traffic violation of running a red light in Florida. He was fined $500. Moore was not charged with vehicular homicide, because, according to police reports, there was no wilful negligence involved.
Moore had dropped his claim of diplomatic immunity in the traffic case.
Disappointed at the results of the case, Mrs. Brenda Coombs, the victim’s wife, retained a lawyer. A $5 million dollar civil suit was filed on behalf of Coombs and three children.
Maurice Moore MP, would use his diplomatic status as a defence in the Florida civil suit.
(The Tampa Tribune, Friday October 12, 1984)
1985 – CIVIL SUIT SETTLED OUT OF COURT FOR ALMOST TRIPLE THE AMOUNT OF ORIGINAL SUIT
Mrs. Coombs had originally filed a $5 million dollar civil suit against Maurice Moore, National Car Rental and Travellers Insurance Company, as Moore was driving a car from the National Car Rental Company when the accident occurred.
The United States State Department ruled that Moore could not use his diplomatic status as a defence in the lawsuit. Moore had claimed that as a foreign diplomat he could not be sued in the United States.
Just days before the case was to begin in court, all parties agreed to an out-of-court settlement. The original $5 million dollar lawsuit suit ballooned to a final $14.5 million dollar settlement.
Travellers Insurance would pay the $14.5 million dollar settlement, in monthly payments, over the lifetime of Mrs. Coombs and her three children.
(Palm Beach Post, Friday , 07 June 1985)