$3M jury award in Md. pedestrian death
A Circuit Court civil jury in Prince George's County Thursday awarded $3.3 million to relatives of a woman killed by a motorist as she walked on a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue that did not have a sidewalk or guard rails.
The jury found the state of Maryland liable in the wrongful death lawsuit, and voted to award $2.5 million to Kayla Martin, the daughter of Kelay Smith, who was struck and killed by a motorist on Aug. 12, 2008.
Kayla was two at the time of the accident.
Smith, 26, was walking in the 5700 block of Pennsylvania Avenue just southeast of Silver Hill Road when a car veered onto the shoulder and struck her and Derrick R. "Mooky" Jones, 30.
Jones died at the scene. Smith, who was five months pregnant, died at a hospital. So did her unborn child.
That section of Pennsylvania Avenue, also known as Route 4. is maintained by the state of Maryland.
Terrell N. Roberts III, the attorney who represented Smith's family in the lawsuit, told jurors that the accident was preventable. On the block that Smith and Jones were walking, there is a sidewalk at both ends of the street -- but also a gap of about 200 feet where there is no sidewalk or guard rails. The two victims were struck as they walked in that section.
Roberts told jurors that state officials should have provided a sidewalk, guard rails, or a combination to improve safety for pedestrians.
In addition to the award for Kayla, the jury also awarded $800,000 to Vicki Muhammad, Smith's mother.
Nancy Miller, the assistant attorney general who defended the state in the civil trial, declined to comment on the verdict.
| March 11, 2011; 8:52 AM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse, Pr. George's, Ruben Castaneda, Updates | Tags: Prince George's County civil lawsuits
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