University of Maryland Student’s Mother Awarded $4 Million Prince George’s County Wrongful Death Verdict Over Deadly Bowie Car Crash Involving Off-Duty Cop

Nearly two years after University of Maryland student Brian Gray was killed in a deadly car accident involving an off-duty cop driving a police cruiser, a jury has awarded his mother, Mary Gray, over $4 million for his Prince George’s County wrongful death.

Gray, a college junior, was driving to campus early on the morning of December 10, 2007 when a police vehicle driven by Cpl. Mario Chavez struck his Chevy Beretta. The 20-year-old’s body was thrown 85 feet past the Bowie car accident site, which was at the intersection of Beaverdale Lane and Belair Drive.

Chavez was driving 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. He admits that he drank three to five beers the night before the motor vehicle accident and was driving home after staying at a friend’s house when the fatal collision happened. Authorities did not make Chavez take a drunk driving test at the Maryland car crash scene.

During the Prince George’s County wrongful death trial, a representative from AT & T testified that Chavez either sent or received a text message right before the deadly auto crash happened.

Following the criminal investigation, Chavez was ordered to pay a $260 fine for speeding. No criminal charges were filed against him, and he was allowed to keep working as a police officer in Clinton. Chavez was later placed on administrative leave after a complaint was made against him over another incident that happened in January 2009.

During the civil trial, Mary Gray’s Maryland wrongful death lawyer argued that if Chavez had even been driving no more than 15 miles above the posted speed limit, Brian Gray would not have died.

It took the jury a week to arrive at its verdict. Prince George’s County is expected to appeal their ruling.

Killed student’s mother awarded $4 million, DiamondBackOnline, September 21, 2009
Officer involved in fatal accident pays speeding fine,, August 20, 2009
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Prince George’s County, Maryland

What’s the difference between a civil judgment and a criminal conviction?, Nolo

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