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Baltimore spending panel set to approve $500K settlement in fatal ’13 crash

The Baltimore City Board of Estimates is scheduled to approve Wednesday a $500,000 settlement for a high-speed police chase that ended in a fatal crash, killing three people.

Baltimore police officers in an unmarked vehicle began pursuing Terrell Young for suspected drug and traffic violations around 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 24, 2013 and Young fled, reaching speeds of 90 miles per hour, according to court records and the memorandum prepared for the city spending panel about the settlement.

The complaints allege the officers ignored multiple commands to “break it off” and stop following Young; the memorandum states the officers “decelerated” when advised to by dispatch.

Young ran a red light at the intersection of East Northern Parkway and York Road, striking a second vehicle. Young and his passenger, Devell Johns, were killed, along with Angel Chiwengo, the passenger in the second car. The driver of the other car, Andrew Baker, was seriously injured.

Baker and the estates of Johns and Chiwengo filed suit against Young’s estate and the city for wrongful death and negligence in two separate actions, which were later consolidated.

The complaints allege Young was negligent in fleeing at a high rate of speed and the officers were similarly negligent for pursuing him in an unmarked vehicle not equipped with a siren and radio. The plaintiffs also claim the city and police department were negligent in failing to properly train and supervise its employees on protocol.

“As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant BCPD’s negligence, and gross carelessness, the Defendant Officers engaged in a high speed chase and caused the collision,” one complaint states.

The city Law Department recommended settlement of the cases due to “the extensive injuries involved, conflicting factual issues, and given the uncertainties and unpredictability of jury verdicts.”

Baker and the estate and descendants of Johns are represented by Baltimore attorney A. Dwight Pettit. Chiwengo’s estate and descendants are represented by Stephen A. Markey III and Amy M. Orsi of the Law Offices of Stephen A. Markey III P.C. in Towson.

The cases are Ntambo Ciwengo et al. v. Estate of Terrell Young et al., 24C15005795 and Andrew Baker Jr. et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City et al., 24C15002169.

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