Pa. city to pay $600K over boy's police car death

This eastern Pennsylvania city agreed to pay $600,000 to settle a federal lawsuit over the death of a 4-year-old boy who was standing on a sidewalk when a police cruiser struck him, according to court papers filed Friday.

Daviay Legrand died in May 2007 when two Allentown police cars collided downtown while responding to a report of a man with a gun.

The crash sent one cruiser onto the sidewalk, killing the boy and severely injuring family friend Jason Marcelle. Furious residents later massed at the crash scene and threw bottles and rocks at police.

An investigation by state police found that rookie Officer Brett Guth caused the crash by running a red light, though speed was not a factor. He was later fired but not charged.

A lawsuit filed in October 2007 by Daviay's mother, Crystal Legrand, claimed the city's decision to hire Guth violated her son's civil rights. The officer had a history of speeding offenses.

Legrand had been seeking $8 million for herself and two surviving children, all of whom witnessed the crash.

Neither the city nor the officers involved admit fault in the settlement, which must be approved by a federal magistrate and the City Council.

The payment to Legrand will come from Allentown's reserve fund, said Bethlehem attorney Donald Wieand, who represented the city.

Marcelle also sued the city and has agreed to settle for an undisclosed amount, lawyers told The Morning Call of Allentown.


Information from: The Morning Call,