While motorcycles offer their owners an unparalleled feeling of freedom on the open road, there are dangers associated with riding one. It makes little difference if your bike of choice is a Harley, Honda, Triumph or Yamaha, when a motorcyclist tangles with a passenger car or commercial truck, the results can be very serious. At the very best, one can expect cuts, bruises and so-called “road rash.” Worse yet, a car-motorcycle accident can result in broken bones, internal injuries and bleeding, or even closed-head trauma.
As Baltimore motorcycle injury lawyers and personal injury attorneys, we understand the draw of these powerful and liberating machines, while at the same time being fully aware of the dangers that the hobby presents from time to time. It is a sad fact of the biker lifestyle that a pleasant afternoon ride or morning commute can quickly turn into a life-threatening and sometimes life-changing event due only to a moment’s inattention on the part of another motorist.
Worst-case scenarios are, of course, fatal traffic accidents involving a cycle and a larger motor vehicle, such as a sedan, SUV or minivan. Semi tractor-trailer rigs can also pose extreme danger to a rider, not only in a collision, but also in terms of thrown tire treads or other broken or defective vehicle equipment. Just the other day it was reported that the family of a motorcycle rider killed during a July 2010 police pursuit is suing the City of Baltimore for wrongful death.
According to news reports, the $40 million lawsuit alleges that the officer who struck Haines Holloway-Lilliston on an Interstate-695 exit ramp was at fault when he rammed into the back of the motorcycle while distracted by his telephone and radio communications. The suit arose following the release of an investigation report by the Maryland State Police, which concluded that Baltimore Officer Timothy Everett Beall was told to end his pursuit of Holloway-Lilliston and that the patrolman acknowledged the command and turned off his siren and lights.
According to previous reports, the Baltimore County prosecutor’s office had declined to press vehicular manslaughter charges against the 32-year-old Officer Beall even after the patrolman allegedly failed break off the pursuit back on July 25. Beall had told investigators that the rider had crashed out in front of his patrol car and that the police cruiser never made contact with the mans motorcycle.
Despite this claim, Maryland State Police investigators concluded that Beall’s account of the crash could not have happened as described because it would have defied the laws of physics. Based on findings by crash reconstruction experts, the motorcycle rider’s death was not a result of any reckless conduct on Holloway-Lilliston’s part, but apparenlty caused by the officer.
Prior to the accident, the 10-year veteran of the Baltimore PD had apparently been pursuing the biker across the city limits into Baltimore County after he concluded the rider had been racing with a car along a stretch of Northern Pkwy. According to police investigators, Holloway-Lilliston landed on the police cruiser’s hood following the collision, and was then thrown onto the roadway.
Following the crash, a spokesperson for the Baltimore PD told reporters that Officer Beall’s role in the accident was still the subject of an administrative review being conducted internally by the department. The probe revolved around information that contradicted earlier police reports that Beall had received numerous calls to stop his high-speed pursuit of the suspect.
As reported, the officer’s patrol car apparently did come into contact with the motorcycle, resulting in the crash and death of the rider. According to police investigators, Holloway-Lilliston’s injuries were consistent with an impact on the left side of the man’s back and subsequent fall to the ground. The man’s injuries, according to police, were consistent with sliding along on an asphalt surface. There were also wounds to the rider’s neck and lower back.
Family of man killed in police chase sues city, BaltimoreSun.com, April 6, 2011
Baltimore County prosecutor declines to charge city officer in fatal accident, BaltimoreSun.com, March 3, 2011