Family Of Mother Killed During Police Pursuit Sues Transportation Authority

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The Maryland Transportation Authority and some of its officers are being blamed for a police pursuit that left two people dead.

The pursuit quickly turned tragic when a mother driving home after picking her daughter up from college was killed in the crash.

Dash cam video showed the high speed chase along I-95 that only took minutes to turn deadly, topping at speeds of 130 miles per hour.

“It was incredibly deadly, very high speed, head on,” said lawyer Scott Lucas of D’Amore Personal Injury Law.

In December 2015, MDTA police tried to conduct a traffic stop in Baltimore City, when the suspect, Michael Brown, refused to pull over even as his passengers tried to ditch the car.

The chase spilled onto I-95 at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour for nearly 14 miles, before coming to an end in the White Marsh area, where the suspect crossed over the median and slammed into a car head on.

Inside the car were sisters Rolanda and Verlonda Johnsen and their mother Sonjia who later died.

One passenger in the suspect’s vehicle was also killed.

“When you look at dash cam footage, you find it hard to believe anyone survives,” Lucas said. “It was supposed to be a special time, first semester of college, you’re going home, for winter break, family comes up and gets you and on way home and something like this happens.”

Lucas and the family have filed a lawsuit against the MDTA, some of its officers and Brown. They added that pursuit laws need to be re-examined.

“Frankly, you have to weigh the benefit of apprehending that particular criminal for whatever reason they were chasing him, which is presently unknown to me, to the danger you’re putting the public in,” Lucas said.

He said the chase should’ve been called off minutes in, but instead changed the lives of an innocent family forever.

“We can’t have innocent bystanders, innocent members of public, losing their lives because police are chasing people at 130 mph.”

Lucas said police were initially chasing Brown because he was recently sentenced to jail time.

The lawsuit was recently filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court, alleging negligence, gross negligence and wrongful death against the Maryland Transportation Authority, the agency to which the Transportation Authority Police Department belongs, several of its officers, the Maryland Department of Transportation and Michael Brown, the suspect in the incident.

Back in 2015, MDTA told said officers are allowed to pursue vehicles at their own discretion.

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