PINELLAS COUNTY, Ga. -- A man hit by three teens in a stolen SUV back in August is puzzled why his insurance company just paid their families $20,000.
Those teens died in the crash in Pinellas County, Florida – and not a day goes by where Ricky Melendez doesn’t think about the crash that nearly took his own life.
He feels pain all the time and that feeling got a whole lot worse this week when a letter showed up in his mailbox from his insurance company – Geico – explaining that they paid the families of the three boys $20,000.
"To be honest - it was like it ripped my heart out,” Melendez said. “It was like a punch in the gut like I never felt before."
Melendez and his attorney Mark Roman are confused why Geico gave money to the parents of Keontae Brown, Dejarae Thomas and Jimmie Goshey who deputies said stole an SUV and crashed into Melendez.
They died. Keondrae Brown, also in the stolen SUV, survived.
"The idea that Geico would pay bodily injury coverage to the families of the perpetrators is disgusting,” Roman said. “It's shocking."
Investigators explained that Melendez was simply driving to work and became an innocent victim when the SUV crashed into his car. The wreck was caught on surveillance video.
He feels like he should be off the hook instead of watching money change hands between Geico and the teenagers' parents.
"I'm upset, more, and hurt by the fact that they even felt like they deserved any kind of payment," Melendez said.
Roman thinks the company may have something up its sleeves in case the families try to make Melendez responsible.
"It's a little bit like hush money to keep in quiet," he said.
He did reach out to Geico multiple times for comment. So far, the company has not responded.