Farrah Fox, a UCF student from suburban Boca Raton, sustained serious injuries when a truck driver by Michael D’Avanzo struck her friend’s car near Atlantic Avenue.
DELRAY BEACH - The Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy who ran a stop sign in July 2018 in Delray Beach, causing a crash that left a college student in a coma, has been suspended for four days without pay, according to a PBSO internal affairs report.
The investigation of Deputy Michael D’Avanzo, signed off on Aug. 1, says, "it is alleged the incident had an adverse affect on the agency, due to the continuous news coverage it received." The full report wasn't available Friday evening, so it's not known what specific actions were sustained.
On July 15, 2018, Farrah Fox, then 18, got a ride to work from her boyfriend’s pal, Dylan De Giuseppe, then 20. A truck driven by D’Avanzo, who was off duty, ran a stop sign at Northeast First Avenue and Northeast Third Street at 53 mph and slammed into them.
De Giuseppe was not seriously hurt. But Fox, who was preparing for her sophomore year at the University of Central Florida, would be at Delray Medical Center for 66 days. She was in a coma for the first month.
County prosecutors said Dec. 13 they would not follow a recommendation by Delray Beach police that D’Avanzo be charged with two felony counts of reckless driving with serious injury. Two citations issued in late December charged D’Avanzo with running the stop sign and traveling 53 mph in a 25-mph-zone.
In February, D’Avanzo, then 25, pleaded “not guilty” to the tickets. A judge withheld adjudication on the stop sign ticket but, on the speeding citation, fined him $500 and took his driver license for three months. The sheriff’s office then put him on indefinite administrative leave with pay.
D’Avanzo also faces a civil lawsuit by Fox’s family.
"It's a tragic case for all parties involved," Gregory Salnick, who represented D'Avanzo in the traffic investigation and citations, said Friday evening.
"Mr. D'Avanzo's thoughts continue to be with Ms. Fox on her recovery," Salnick said.
"I suppose it doesn't really matter," Ira Fox, Farrah's father, said Friday of the suspension. "We're still very focused on Farrah's recovery. She continues to work hard every day at attempting to get better."
In September 2018, Farrahox was moved to a rehabilitation center in Mount Dora, north of Orlando. In March, she came back to her mother's home in Delray Beach. Ira Fox said his daughter is attending outpatient therapy and still hopes one day to return to UCF.