A Capitol Heights man who sued Prince George’s County after the four-wheel ATV he was driving collided with a police cruiser during an attempted traffic stop agreed to a settlement Tuesday.
Michael D. Lewis will receive an undisclosed amount of money from the county as part of the settlement, which came the day after a civil trial began in Prince George’s County Circuit Court on Monday.
“We believe Mr. Lewis was fairly compensated for everything he has been put through,” said Joshua Berman, an attorney representing Lewis. “We’re satisfied with the result.”
The county declined to comment on the settlement, which offers no admission of liability and was developed to avoid the expense and uncertainty of further litigation.
Lewis said that he was a victim of excessive force stemming from a March 2013 incident. Dashboard camera video shows two police cruisers traveling down Karen Boulevard as an ATV approaches from the opposite direction. The video then shows one police car crossing the double yellow line in the path of the ATV, which avoids a collision only to crash into a second police cruiser following the first car.
Lewis’s attorneys, Berman and Donny Knepper, argued Monday that the officers drove their cruisers in the path of the ATV to stop it during a pursuit. The tactic known as “heading off” is allowed only when police are attempting to stop a violent suspect, Knepper said.
An attorney for the county argued Monday that the officers were attempting to stop the ATV because the driver was on a public road without a helmet, both violations of local law. The county said that the incident was a “miscalculation resulting in an accident.”
After the incident, the police department issued Lewis 16 traffic citations, all of which were dismissed.