Son of Trump’s CDC chief seriously hurt in the Florida Keys. His family wants answers
A Maryland man is in a coma with a severe head injury after falling off a golf cart last month at the exclusive Ocean Reef in North Key Largo.
Daniel Redfield, 38, was so severely injured that part of his skull has been removed and, if he lives, his family says he’ll likely be in dependent care for the rest of his days. He is now at a hospital near his hometown of Baltimore.
His family, including his father, Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director in the Trump administration, is looking for answers into what happened in the early evening of Jan. 20.
So far, little has been made public other than a preliminary incident report by the Keys sheriff’s office. After a deputy briefly interviewed the two men on the cart, including the driver, the investigation was turned over to the Florida Highway Patrol, said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.
Lt. Kathleen McKinney, FHP’s Florida Keys sub-district commander, said Wednesday that she was looking into “what type of report we may have completed.”
By the time a Keys deputy arrived around 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, Redfield had already been airlifted to Jackson South Medical Center in Kendall, and the Ocean Reef Public Safety security guard allowed the driver, John Avirett, 40, to go back to his room at the resort, the report states.
The deputy said he was delayed getting to Ocean Reef because he and others were on other calls.
Avirett eventually came back to give a statement, Deputy Robert Dosh wrote in his report. When he did, the deputy said he could “smell suspected alcohol” on Avirett’s breath.
The other man riding on the cart, Marc Bunting, 54, told Dosh that all three were fishing all day and had been drinking. He said at the time of the accident, Daniel Redfield was sitting in the passenger seat next to Avirett, slumped over and fell out. Visitors at Ocean Reef often traverse the resort grounds on golf carts even when they’re not playing a round.
Avirett’s statement to the sheriff’s office “indicated Mr. Redfield possibly jumped out of the golf cart,” Dosh wrote.
Because Avirett left before the deputy arrived would make concluding he was drinking at the time of the accident difficult, Ramsay said.
“Yes, having the driver leave the scene does impede the DUI investigation,” Ramsay said.
Ocean Reef security did not immediately respond to an emailed request for a report on the incident. Neither Avirett nor Bunting returned requests for comment.
Robert Redfield, III, told the Miami Herald that the family is frustrated because few details about that night have been released by authorities, Ocean Reef or the men with his brother. Redfield, a doctor and surgical director of University of Pennsylvania’s living donor kidney program, say he and his father, also a physician and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also question how Daniel’s injuries are so severe from falling from a golf cart.
He released the following statement to the Miami Herald:
“Our family is heartbroken. We are praying for a miracle, but my brother Dan may not recover from his injury. We just want answers about what happened. We still are in disbelief that people involved left the scene, especially the driver, wouldn’t talk for so long, and the facts just don’t seem to add up. I’ve been a doctor and a surgeon for over 15 years, and his injuries are inconsistent with the stories we have been told. My brother had half of his skull removed in surgery and has suffered widespread brain injury. It’s extremely difficult to envision a scenario where his injuries would be this severe given the recap of events we have been provided. We are hopeful the resort will be more forthcoming and law enforcement will push for more answers. Dan is not just my brother. He is a son, a father and husband, and a friend to so many. Our family deserves answers.”
Both Avirett and Bunting are prominent members of the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., business world. Bunting is chief financial officer of Alpine Food Services Solutions, which provides food to college campuses and hospitals, according to his biography on the website of Baltimore’s National Aquarium, of which he is a board member. He also sits on several other boards of directors.
Avirett is a partner in StepStone Group, a multi-billion dollar private equity firm that last year acquired Greenspring Associates, a venture capital firm where Avirett was a general partner. Daniel Redfield’s wife, who, according to his brother Robert Redfield III was not on the trip, is also a partner in StepStone and was chief financial officer at Greenspring Associates.
Daniel Redfield was retired and raising his children after working several jobs on Capitol Hill and in Baltimore, his brother said.
Ocean Reef, the north Key Largo home and hangout for dignitaries, celebrities and the wealthy, is notoriously meticulous when it comes to information getting out from behind its gates. Known for its generosity to area charities, particularly in the Florida Keys, many there don’t even want their philanthropic endeavors shared.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.