Maryland Pedestrian Lawsuit Results in $3M Verdict Over Lack of Sidewalk

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By: Staff Writers | Published: March 22nd, 2011

A Maryland jury has awarded $3.3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed against the State of Maryland for failing to have a sidewalk along a portion of roadway where other pedestrians had been hit and killed before. 

The pedestrian accident lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of Kelay Smith, who died on August12, 2008. The lawsuit alleged that Smith was hit by Petrello Cabbagestalk, of Forestville, because a portion of Pennsylvania Avenue just southeast of Silver Hill Road in District Heights, Maryland had no sidewalk.

Smith, 26 at the time, was walking home with her sister Krystal Fletcher, 22, when she and another pedestrian, Derrick R. “Mooky” Jones, 30, were hit by Cabbagestalk after he lost control of his vehicle. Jones died at the scene of the accident and Smith, who was five months pregnant at the time, died at a nearby hospital along with her unborn child.

The lawsuit against the state claimed that the accident could have been prevented had there been a sidewalk for pedestrians to walk on and guardrails. The gap without a sidewalk was about 200 feet in length, and Smith and Jones were both on that portion of the road when they were hit.

Along that same stretch of road, at least three other fatalities occurred earlier in 2008. Pedestrians are forced to walk that portion of the road because of security gates surrounding nearby apartment complexes. Officials from the Maryland State Highway Administration said that not having a sidewalk contributed to the accident.

According to a report by The Washington Post, the Prince George’s County Circuit Court jury awarded $2.5 million to Kayla Martin, Smith’s daughter. She was two at the time of the accident. They also awarded $800,000 to Vicki Muhammad, Smith’s mother.

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