A man who was rescued from a creek during the floods that took place in Colorado last year is suing the county for taking too long to rescue him.
The man, Roy Ortiz, found his vehicle submerged in a Broomfield County creek after hitting a washed out area of the road on U.S. 287. Ortiz was trapped in his vehicle for around two hours, ABC 7 News Denver reports.
Ever since filing suit against the county, Ortiz has been receiving backlash for suing those who were simply trying to help him. Ortiz insists that he should not be criticized for the situation.
"People react like I am a bad man for filing this," Ortiz said. "It's not like that. I just tried to defend my rights. My name is being defamed; I've been working for the same company for 17 years, I'm co-pastor of a church in Aurora. People know me. I've never caused trouble."
Ortiz’s attorney, Ed Ferszt, explained that this lawsuit should not be viewed as his client's being ungrateful for the work his rescuers did to save his life. Instead, people should note that the length of time that it took to find Ortiz and remove him from his vehicle demonstrated negligence.
“Of course he was thankful because those divers did have a major role to play in saving his life that day," Ferszt said. "That doesn’t negate the fact that a mistake may have been made. I can understand why there’s a lot of furor over people thinking that he’s biting the hand that feeds. Does that mean the officers of North Metro Fire are above reproach?”
According to Ortiz, one of the reasons he is suing the rescuers is because he has accumulated at least $40,000 of medical bills directly related to the incident.
“I’m really happy to be alive, but I’m looking for some help with my bills,” Ortiz explained.
Ortiz also explained that the county did act with negligence, despite much of the backlash he has received for suing them. Ortiz claims that the rescue mission took place over the course of longer than an hour, and the divers still did not see Ortiz until they hooked up tow cables to his car. Other vehicles had been submerged in the water after hitting the same washed-out spot on the road, diverting the divers’ attention to other vehicles and individuals.
According to the Huffington Post, Ortiz is suing for damages up to $500,000.