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Charlottesville, Virginia

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Greg Webb
Greg Webb
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$1.2 Million Paid to Parents in Police Auto Accident Death Case

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The District of Columbia has agreed to pay the parents of 2 minor children, Octavia Suydan, 8, and her brother, Christopher Suydan, 7, killed by a driver fleeing the police, $1.2 million for a 2004 automobile accident that resulted in a wrongful death claim by the surviving parents. The Washington Post reported that the accident occurred after a drug sting gone bad, when Eric Palmer, who was in his car near the undercover drug deal, panicked and fled the scene when undercover police moved in. The District denied responsibility for the tragic accident, claiming that its officers broke off pursuit of the fleeing suspect before he plowed into the children.

The parents of the 2 deceased children claimed that the pursuit officers had no basis to chase Palmer, and that one officer actually continued chasing him after having been called off the pursuit. The chase took place in a heavily populated area, and the 2 children who were killed were crossing the street in a crosswalk, ahead of their father, with the walk signal flashing while holding hands. The children were thrown 140 feet and died in view of their father.