Baltimore agreed to pay $850,000 in settlements in two lawsuits stemming from a 2013 fatal police chase and a 2016 collision with a city garbage truck.
The chase involved officers in an unmarked car and Terrell Young, 28, who was facing drug distribution charges. Officers pursued Young for miles before the suspect abandoned the chase just moments before crashing into an SUV at 100 mph. The collision killed Young, his passenger and a woman in the SUV.
Young, who drove a Honda Accord, crashed into a Jeep driven by Andrew Baker Jr. at Northern Parkway. Baker was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. His passenger, Angel Chiwengo, was killed. Young’s passenger, Devell Johns, was also killed.
The city made a $500,000 settlement for the case involving Young and an additional $350,000 settlement in the case involving a man who was killed after being struck by a city trash truck.
The $500,000 settlement, the maximum a local government can pay for a single incident, will be divided among the three parties: Chiwengo, including her mother and son; Baker; and Johns, including his mother, father and the mother of his daughter.
The attorneys, Stephen A Markey, III and Amy M. Orsi, could not disclose the details of the settlement due to confidentiality clauses and the clients’ unwillingness to discuss the case.
Andrew Baker is still in recovery for injuries he suffered in the accident, but is doing better, his attorney, A. Dwight Pettit, says.
Baker had been traveling with Chiwengo to visit her pregnant daughter after work when they were struck by Young’s vehicle.
Officers in pursuit of Young were told to abandon the chase after the suspect sped through a red light, according to the board agenda.
The Baltimore Sun reported that despite the officers being ordered to break their pursuit, the police car was traveling at a high speed, between 75 and 84 mph, in a 30 mph zone moments before the crash.
Baltimore police were prohibited from engaging in high-speed pursuits except for in “exigent” situations. In July 2016, the rule changed to allow officers to pursue a vehicle if: a person inside the vehicle is a felony suspect who may seriously injure or kill another person; and the officers believe the danger posed by the chase outweigh the threat of the suspect.
The chase began after police smelled marijuana from a vehicle stopped at a red light. The officers attempted to make a traffic stop, the Honda Accord fled.
The officers pursued Young’s vehicle for 4.3 miles in an unmarked vehicle with emergency lights engaged. Officers stopped after being ordered to call off the chase.
Young’s vehicle was traveling at 100 mph in a 30 mph zone. Baker had been traveling at 43 mph.
The city made the decision to settle due to the extensive injuries involved, conflicting facts regarding the incident, and the unpredictability of a jury verdict.
The board will also settle another pending lawsuit involving a garbage truck. Johnny Lee Jones Jr. was killed after being struck by the truck when crossing at South Charles Street and East Fort Avenue. Jones had a “walk” signal when he crossed.