The family of Mary Jones, a mother who was killed when a police officer ran a red light on Northern Parkway on November 13, are worried that they could lose a lawsuit they filed against the city of Baltimore.
Police reports say that Baltimore City Police officer Antonio Reyes-Rodriguez was traveling between 62-82 miles per hour in a 30-mile zone when he ran a red light. Witnesses say that they did not hear a police siren during this time. The report concluded that Officer Reyes had violated Maryland Criminal Law by driving in a grossly negligent manner, which caused Jones’s death.
Just two months ago, however, the Assistant State Attorney wrote Jones’s family to say that there wasn’t any negligence involved on the part of Reyes-Rodriguez—who had been dismissed from the police force after the incident—and that the manslaughter charges were being dropped against him.
Vehicular manslaughter is defined as the crime of causing the death of a human being due to the illegal driving of an automobile. This can include gross negligence, drunk driving, reckless driving, or speeding. Vehicular manslaughter can be charged as a misdemeanor (a minor crime with a maximum punishment of a year in county jail or only a fine) or a felony (a crime punishable by a term in state prison), depending on the circumstances. Gross negligence or driving a few miles over the speed limit might be charged as a misdemeanor, but drunk driving resulting in a fatality is most likely treated as a felony. Death of a passenger, including a loved one or friend, can be vehicular manslaughter if it is caused by an act of illegal driving.
Jones’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city seeking punitive damages. The city has filed a motion to have that lawsuit dismissed.
-Red light running takes place when a motorist enters an intersection after the traffic signal light has turned red.
-A nationwide study shows that from 1999 and 2000, about 20 percent of the vehicles involved in fatal crashes failed to obey the traffic signals.
-In 2004: Over 900 people were killed and about 168,000 were injured in red light running-related crashes.
According to the Trauma Foundation:
In the United States in 1996, there was a total of 257,849 traffic crashes in which someone ran a red light.
These red light running crashes accounted for:
· 4% of all police-reported crashes;
· 5% of all injury crashes; and
· 7% of all injury crashes on urban roads.
47% of red light running crashes involved injuries, as compared with 33% of other crashes.
Of all red light running crashes in the U.S. in 1996:
· 15% involved fatal or incapacitating injuries, and
· 31% involved non-incapacitating injuries.
72% of these red light running crashes occurred during the day (between 6:00 a.m. and 5:59 p.m.).
The law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen handles personal injury lawsuits that result due to someone else’s negligence. If you or someone you love has been injured in a red light running accident due to the negligence of another driver, or if someone you love has been killed due to someone else’s negligence in any type of vehicle-related accident, contact Lebowitz and Mzhen for a free consultation.
City Police and Prosecutors At Odds On Lawsuit, Wjz.com, November 3, 2006
Red Light Running Crashes Are On The Increase,
Red Light Running, Insurance Institute For Highway Safety
Related Web Resources:
Red Light Running Is A Rampant Problem, Insurance.com