Police Chase Case Ends In $727,000 Settlement

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Laricha Langley, et al. v. City of New Haven, et al.: A teenager who was seriously injured after a Jeep being chased by a police cruiser crashed into her vehicle at more than 60 mph has settled her lawsuit for $727,000.

Laricha Langley, then a 17-year-old high school senior, was a passenger in an automobile heading southbound on Orchard Street in New Haven at approximately 4:15 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2006, according to her lawyer, John J. Kennedy, of Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge in New Haven.

That afternoon, New Haven police were looking for Jasper Sullivan. Kennedy said officers received a tip from an undercover cop that Sullivan was in possession of illegal drugs and was driving a red Jeep Grand Cherokee.

After police located the vehicle, officers in a marked police cruiser were directed to stop the red Jeep. The responding officers were not told why Sullivan was wanted, Kennedy said. In fact, the attorney said, the officers had no idea who was operating the Jeep until after it was involved in the crash.

Officers caught up with the Jeep at the intersection of Goffe and Orchard streets, but Sullivan did not pull over and instead attempted to evade the officers, Kennedy said. At speeds exceeding 60 mph, more than one cruiser pursued Sullivan. At the corner of Goffe and Webster streets, Sullivan's Jeep sideswiped a vehicle and continued on. At one point, the Jeep reportedly sped down a one-way street, the police close behind.

On Orchard Street, police tried to pass the Jeep, but Sullivan moved into the oncoming lane of traffic to try to block the cruiser. In doing so, he smashed into the vehicle in which Langley was riding.

"The collision was unbelievable," said Kennedy, noting that both vehicles were totaled to the extent it made him wonder how anyone survived. "[Langley] was trapped in the car for a period of time after the collision."

Despite the violent crash, Sullivan popped right out of his vehicle and began to run away from the police officers, who eventually caught him. It turned out that Sullivan was in possession of some marijuana and a gun. In all, Sullivan faced 22 charges, including reckless endangerment, engaging an officer in a pursuit and other motor vehicle offenses.

According to the state Judicial Branch website, Sullivan was sentenced to 102 months in jail for the drug charges and five years for the weapon offense. The sentences ran concurrently.

Kennedy, meanwhile, said that Langley's doctor had never seen injuries like the ones she suffered. Specifically, the doctor testified in a deposition, he had never seen a crash impact fracture both of someone's hips. Langley also suffered what Kennedy described as severe fractures to her right ankle and multiple breaks in her left leg.

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