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Parents of boy hit by police cruiser sue Montgomery County

A 2008 incident in which a speeding police cruiser hit a 12-year-old boy has ended up in litigation.

The parents of Luis Jovel Jr., who is now paralyzed, seek $7 million in their lawsuit against the officer and his employer, Montgomery County, according to the lawsuit and one of the parent's attorneys.

The lawsuit states that Officer Jason Cokinos’s negligence caused the collision.

County attorneys, in a court filinglate last year, say that the 12-year-old's negligence contributed to the collision, and that there is a limit of $400,000 in the case, according to court filings.

Cokinos "has always felt very sorry for what happened. This was a very tragic accident," James Shalleck, an attorney who has represented him in the past, said Monday.

The collision occurred the afternoon of April 29, 2008. At the time, Cokinos was off duty, driving his cruiser at least 56 mph in a 30 mph zone of Stringtown Road in Clarksburg, according to a report of the collision written by a Montgomery County detective.

The 12-year-old crossed the roadway and was struck by the police car. He was found to be "illegally in the roadway," but Cokinos's speed contributed to the accident, according to the report. "Time distance formulas showed that if Cokinos had been traveling at 30 miles per hour, the collision would not have occurred," a Montgomery detective wrote.

Cokinos was charged with negligent driving and speeding. He was found not guilty of the former and pleaded guilty to the latter, according to Shalleck.

Dana A. Paul, an attorney for the Jovel’s, said the accident report backs up their lawsuit.

"Montgomery County did a good job investigating the accident," he said.

Attorneys for Montgomery County could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

-- Dan Morse

By Dan Morse  |  January 25, 2010; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse , Montgomery  
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This stretch of Stringtown Road is really a big problem. It is very narrow, has no sidewalk or even a shoulder, and it meanders like a country road--which is really what it is. Unfortunately, many cars do exceed the speed limit, and the increased traffic that new development has brought with it has only exacerbated the potential dangers. Coupled with the fact that residents are accustomed to routinely walking on the road and even allowing children to play on the road, and you have a recipe for disaster.

At a minimum, this road needs decent sidewalks in the residential areas, the speed limits need to be better enforced, and residents need to realize that they can no longer treat Stringtown Road as a country farm road or their own private drive; it has become a highway and it is not a place for walking or a playground for children.

Posted by: Auslander1 | January 27, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

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