Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Claims bill for injured Pasco woman filed in Tallahassee

For the third time in as many legislative sessions, a claims bill has been filed for a New Port Richey woman severely injured by a Pasco County deputy.

In early 2005, Pasco Deputy Kenneth Petrillo's patrol car collided with Jennifer Wohlgemuth's Honda Accord as Petrillo was chasing a suspected drunken driver. His lights and sirens were not on. Wohlgemuth, then 21, suffered a brain injury and was left unable to care for herself.

In 2009, a judge ruled that Petrillo was negligent in the crash and that Wohlgemuth should receive $9.14 million in damages. But state law limits such judgments against law enforcement agencies; to get the rest, parties have to petition the Legislature in the form of a claims bill.

Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, filed one for this session on March 4. A previous version of the bill was approved in 2012 by the Senate, 35-5, but no one championed the cause in the House. A bill was introduced in both the House and the Senate last year but died in committee.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, previously said he would meet with the family before the 2013 legislative session. On Friday, he said the family has not asked to meet with him, but he called the case tragic and painful for Wohlgemuth and her family.

"This year," he said, "we stand ready to work with the Senate on claims bills where there is local agreement."

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, has openly opposed claims bills.

"Generally, he feel that the success or failure of claims bills depends more on the lobbyist and less on the subject matter," said Katie Betta, Gaetz's spokeswoman.

Claims bill for injured Pasco woman filed in Tallahassee 03/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 21, 2014 11:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut


    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) takes the field to start the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]