Former Congressman Charged After Collision with State Trooper in Florida

April 19, 2024

A former Congressman from North Carolina may soon be facing higher auto insurance premiums after he slammed into the back of a Florida state trooper’s patrol car on Interstate 75 near Naples.

Madison Cawthorn, 28, who represented part of North Carolina and gained national attention for his politics and controversies, rear-ended the parked state trooper in a construction zone earlier this week, causing minor injuries to the officer, according to a statement from the Florida Highway Patrol and multiple news outlets.

Part of the incident was captured on the officer’s patrol car camera and by a passerby on the highway, the Miami Herald and others reported. A driver posted on social media that Cawthorn’s Mercedes appeared to be tailgating, driving erratically and speeding before hitting the patrol car. The impact shattered the trooper’s rear windshield, and the officer appeared to be in some pain afterwards.

Cawthorn, who now lives in southwest Florida, was cited for violating Florida law that requires drivers to move over or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles, the news sites reported.

The former U.S. representative, who served one term in Congress, was partially paralyzed in 2014 in a car accident near Daytona Beach while he was on spring break, according to news reports. Cawthorn settled a personal injury lawsuit filed against his friend who was driving the car at the time, then Cawthorn sued the insurer, Auto-Owners Insurance Co., in 2016.

In 2018, a federal judge dismissed Cawthorn’s claim for bad faith, finding that he did not establish an essential element in the suit —an excess judgment—that is required before a bad faith cause of action can be pursued, court records show. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

A suit in state court in Volusia County, Florida, was dropped in 2022, the Asheville Citizen Times reported.

Photo: Cawthorn in 2022 in North Carolina. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)