A District of Columbia man whose car struck and crippled a bystander during a high-speed police chase last fall has been sentenced to a 30-year prison term on bank robbery charges.
In an order signed earlier this week, Arlington Circuit Court Judge Charles S. Russell sentenced Lyntellus Brooks, 30, to serve the 30-year term after completing an 18-year sentence for an unrelated bank robbery.
Brooks' codefendant, 30-year-old Orlando M. Dorantes, is in the Arlington County Detention Center awaiting trial on similar charges.
"This whole thing is a rotten shame and I don't feel particularly glad about any aspect (including the sentence)," said Alvin Biscoe, 47, a National Science Foundation consultant whose legs were amputated after Brooks' car slammed into him.
A vice-president of the University of Tennessee on loan to the Foundation, Biscoe was standing at the corner of 19th and E streets NW en route to meet a friend for lunch when the getaway car struck him last Sept. 27.
Biscoe has filed a $25 million damage suit against the Arlington and District of Columbia governments the Arlington police department, Brooks and Dorantes and a Fairfax motorist whose car collided with the getaway car. Also named in the suit is Arlington police officer Michael Kyle, who chased Brooks through the crowded D.C. streets after Brooks took $3,000 from the N. Glebe Road branch of the Washington and Lee Savings Bank.
"It sure isn't much money when you consider all the pain caused everyone, not just me," Biscoe said in an interview yesterday. "My understanding is that the $3,000 was (marked) money which tellers use to hand out to robbers."
At the time of the accident, Biscoe's 31-year-old wife, Eleanor, a researcher at Catholic University, had just learned that she was pregnant. The couple's first child is due in several weeks.
Since the accident that cost him his legs Biscoe has spent hours undergoing painful physical therapy at the Washington Hospital Center. He returned to work last February.
Meanwhile, a U.S. judge in Washington ruled yesterday that Arlington County is liable for damages when its police officers pursue suspects into the District of Columbia, even though Virginia law would absolutely protect the county from any such claim.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey, ruled in the case of two D.C.
men who were followed by county police into Washington after a bank robbery in Arlington last September. The two men, Michael Daughtry, 19, and Albert Davis, 21, contend in a law suit brought in the federal court in Washington that the police officers intentionally rammed their car in the 200 block of 17th St. NW, approached them with guns drawn and accused them of the bank robbery.
According to court records, the men were released after a bank employe was brought to the scene and said that neither man was involved in the holdup.
Because the interests of both the District of Columbia and Virginia were involved in the case, Richey had to decide whether to apply Virginia law, which would shield the county from liability, or D.C. law, which provides compensation for victims for wrongful acts of government officials.
Richey wrote that he decided in favor of District of Columbia law because, "compensation to victims of wrongful conduct has been generally accepted as the better rule." Moreover, he noted, the lawsuit was filled in Washington and both men are residents of the District. Richey's ruling clears the way for the two men to pursue their damage claim in court.
The decision could affect any similar question raised in the damage suit filed in the federal court in Washington by Biscoe. Arlington County attorney Jerry K. Emrich said yesterday that his office has not yet decided whether to appeal Richey's decision.