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Maryland Politics
Posted at 05:53 PM ET, 03/26/2012

Montgomery official sues drunk driver who hit his car

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and his wife have filed two lawsuits in Montgomery County Circuit Court against a drunk driver who struck his county car in 2009, according to court documents.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett in a 2010 file photo. (Katherine Frey - The Washington Post)
Kendall Sterling Smith, now 50, pleaded guilty to drunk driving that year after he’d driven a Ford that ran a red light and hit the passenger side of Leggett’s car. According to documents filed late last month, Leggett and his wife, Catherine, are suing Smith and a relative who owned the Ford for $800,000.

The lawsuits had been filed a few days before the statute of limitation passed. County spokesman Patrick Lacefield said Leggett’s attorneys are trying to negotiate a settlement with Smith’s insurance. Leggett said he expects the matter will be “resolved pretty quickly.” One of the lawyers representing the couple, Shanta Ramson, declined to comment.

Leggett’s car was making a left turn from Route 29 onto Route 198 in Burtonsville around 10:30 p.m. on March 1, 2009. He was heading home after a dinner for a Jewish community group when the Ford hit his car. The couple was taken to Laurel Regional Hospital for a series of tests and released a few hours later.

According to court documents, Catherine Leggett sustained injuries to her back, neck, left shoulder and left knee. The county executive was injured on his back, neck, right knee, right hand, right hip and right arm, the documents say. Lacefield said the couple has undergone several treatments, which largely have been completed.

Of the $800,000, about $113,000 is for medical bills and will go to the couple’s private insurers. About $7,000 is for loss of wages and may go to the county, Lacefield said, adding that Leggett was out for a couple of weeks. The rest is for “mental anguish,” pain and suffering, according to court documents.

On Monday, a man who answered the phone at the Smith residence hung up on a reporter seeking comment.

If negotiations fall through, the first court appearance is scheduled to take place June 1.

By  |  05:53 PM ET, 03/26/2012

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