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Baltimore pays $340K to settle three accident claims

Baltimore’s spending board on Wednesday approved payments to settle three accident claims, including one for a small group of people killed by a fire engine and another involving a man hit by a bookmobile.

In the first settlement, the Board of Estimates approved $40,000 to end litigation involving a fatal 2007 accident involving a Baltimore Fire Department truck. The settlement resolves the December 2010 case filed by the families of the deceased in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

According to the lawsuit, on Dec. 9, 2007, at 3:19 a.m., 49-year-old Iryna Petrov was driving east on Clarks Lane in her 2006 Nissan Murano. In the vehicle were her husband, Mikhail, 35 and the couple’s friend Igor Saub, 24.

As the Nissan approached Park Heights Avenue, Petrov entered the intersection with a green light. At the same time, Baltimore Fire Department Ladder Truck No. 27 also entered the intersection going about 47 miles per hour, according to the complaint.

The fire truck had its lights and sirens activated and it was en route to a fire on Park Heights Avenue. The collision spun the Nissan around and the vehicle hit a utility pole before coming to a rest.

Iryna Petrov and Saub were transported to the hospital where they were both pronounced dead shortly after the accident. Mikhail Petrov had to be cut out of the wreck. He was then taken to the hospital, where he died of his injuries at 4:35 a.m.

The initial lawsuit sought $24 million in damages from the Mayor and City Council and the three firefighters in the truck that night.

The city disputed liability, Baltimore City Solicitor George A. Nilson said.

“It was a contested lawsuit,” Nilson said. “Because this case involved deaths we decided to resolve it.”

The amount of the settlement is the city’s maximum exposure for cases involving an accident that occurs while a fire truck is responding to an emergency.

The Board of Estimates also unanimously approved a $100,000 settlement to a Baltimore man hit by a bookmobile that had broken free of its towing vehicle. The board approved the settlement unanimously.

On June 10, 2010, Timothy Morgan was detailing a car on the sidewalk in the 1800 block of North Milton Street. A city-owned 2008 International Wrecker was towing a library bookmobile at the time.

The truck turned onto Milton Street from North Avenue. In doing so, the towing belt snapped, sending the bookmobile hurtling toward Morgan.

Morgan was severely injured in the accident, breaking his leg. His medical bills totaled $20,000. He had put the city on notice he planned to sue and would seek $500,000 for medical care and pain and suffering.

In the third settlement, the Board of Estimates approved a $200,000 payment to a pedestrian who was struck by a city animal control vehicle.

The accident occurred around 3 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2011. Lakia Davis, a city employee, was driving the animal control truck on Belair Road. Davis allegedly had a medical problem or fell asleep; she lost control of the truck and drove up onto the sidewalk.

The truck hit Paris Butler, who was standing at a bus stop at the time. Butler was severely injured, incurring $345,000 in medical expenses.

Like Morgan, Butler had not filed a lawsuit prior to the settlement.