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MDTA reaches $900K settlement over fatal police chase

The Maryland Transportation Authority has agreed to pay $900,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from a fatal high-speed police chase in 2015.

Rolanda Johnson and Verlonda Johnson-Baker filed suit last year on behalf of their mother, Sonjia Johnson-Baker, who was killed in a head-on collision outside of Baltimore. The driver of other car, Michael R. Brown, had led MDTA police on a 14-mile chase beginning on Eastern Avenue at speeds reaching more than 130 miles per hour before he crossed the I-95 median and veered into southbound traffic.

Johnson and Verlonda Johnson-Baker were seriously injured in the accident, according to the lawsuit, filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

The parties reached a settlement in March but the case was not dismissed until July 10, according to online court records.

“While my clients are pleased with the settlement, they hope law enforcement examines its pursuit laws so no other family has to endure the pain and heartache they’ve experienced since the accident,” said plaintiffs’ attorney F. Scott Lucas, of D’Amore Personal Injury Law LLC in Baltimore, in a statement. “Had law enforcement considered the importance of the public’s safety and taken measures to end the pursuit sooner, the collision with Ms. Johnson-Baker would never have occurred, and two young girls would still have their mother.”

The state Attorney General’s office declined to comment on the settlement.

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Rolonda Johnson, et al v. Michael Richard Brown, et al.

Court: Baltimore City Circuit

Case No.: 24C17003354

Judge: Wanda K. Heard

Proceeding: Settlement

Outcome: $900,000


Incident: Dec. 11, 2015

Suit filed: June 19, 2017

Settlement: March 30, 2018

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: F. Scott Lucas of D’Amore Personal Injury Law LLC in Baltimore.

Defendants’ Attorneys: Assistant Attorneys General Kimberly A. Millender and David E.C. Grant

Counts: negligence, gross negligence and wrongful death

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