Jury Awards $13.5 Million to Family of Man Killed in Collision with Speeding Fire Engine

WASHINGTON (AP) — A D.C. Superior Court jury has awarded $13.5 million in damages to the family of a man who was killed in a crash involving a speeding fire engine in 2018. After two days of testimony, the jury ordered the District to pay compensation to the family of the victim, identified as 32-year-old Deangelo Green. Green, a father of six, lived in the Brookland neighborhood in Northeast Washington and worked as a maintenance man at the nonprofit organization So Others Might Eat.

The incident occurred on March 9, 2018, when Green’s vehicle was struck by the fire engine at the intersection of 12th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE. City officials stated that the fire engine had been dispatched to respond to a report of a smell of smoke in a nearby building.

According to a report from D.C. police, filed nearly a year after the crash, the fire engine was traveling at about 55 mph. It had braked to about 40 mph when it collided with Green’s vehicle. The report indicated that Green had failed to yield to the emergency vehicle and was suspected of driving under the influence.

However, during the trial, Green’s family attorney, William J. Lightfoot, argued that there was no evidence to support the claim of drug use by Green at the time of the crash. He stated that the city was unable to make such an argument in their case. The defense countered by claiming that the fire engine driver was traveling 25 mph over the speed limit and failed to slow down for a red light at the bottom of a hill.

After a three-day trial, the jury found the city grossly negligent in Green’s death. In a separate proceeding, the jury deliberated on the amount of compensatory damages to be awarded to the family. The $13.5 million verdict reflects the jury’s decision.

“This man’s life mattered to his family,” said Lightfoot. “The life of this maintenance man mattered.”

The District’s Office of the Attorney General declined to comment on the jury’s decision regarding compensation or on whether the city plans to appeal the verdict.