Maryland officials settle lawsuit over deadly police chase in 2015 for nearly $1 million

State transportation officials have settled for $900,000 a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a Washington woman killed during a police chase on Interstate 95 in December 2015.

The Baltimore firm D’Amore Personal Injury Law LLC announced the settlement Thursday. A Maryland Transportation Authority Police spokesman declined to comment.

According to the law firm, Sonjia Johnson-Baker, 52, was killed and her two daughters were injured as a result of a negligent and reckless high-speed chase by the transportation police.

The chase began when police tried to stop Michael R. Brown of Hagerstown near a convenience store in the 6500 block of Eastern Ave., according to the suit. Brown sped off, weaving between cars, and leading police on a 15-mile chase at speeds of more than 100 mph, the lawsuit claimed.

While driving north on I-95, Brown lost control of the car, which crossed the median and entered oncoming traffic, where it struck Johnson-Baker’s car in the southbound lanes near New Forge Road in Baltimore County.

Jason Brian Canter, a passenger in Brown’s car, was also killed.

Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of negligent manslaughter with an automobile and was sentenced to 18 years in prison and two years of probation, according to court records.

Attorneys for Johnson-Baker’s family say police lacked probable cause to stop Brown and they had no evidence he posed a threat to the public and warranted chasing.

“This was a totally unnecessary high-speed chase, we found no justification for it whatsoever and we were ready to prove that at trial,” attorney F. Scott Lucas said in a statement from the law firm.

tprudente@baltsun.com

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