Wellington widow sues drivers who struck husband while walking dogs


The family of a 74-year-old Wellington man who was killed while walking his dogs on Big Blue Trace has sued the drivers of the cars involved in the fatal Christmas Eve crash.

In a wrongful death lawsuit filed last week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, the widow of John Stermer accuses Jason Carter and Miguel Portillo of negligence in the crash that killed her husband.

Carter, 74, of Wellington was intoxicated and driving his Mustang at speeds reaching 100 mph when he plowed into the rear end of a Jeep Wrangler that Portillo was driving, according to the lawsuit filed by West Palm Beach attorney Christian Searcy. The Mustang and Jeep careened off Big Blue Trace, hitting Stermer, who was walking his three dogs. Stermer was declared dead at the scene, Searcy wrote. The three dogs were also killed, police said.

While Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies said alcohol was a factor in the crash that occurred just after midnight, no charges have been filed against either Carter or Portillo, 48, who appears to live in Boca Raton, according to court records.

Dawn Stermer is seeking an unspecified amount of damages in connection with the loss of her husband and for the losses suffered by the couple’s two adult sons.




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