Columbia Woman Sues County Over Collision With Police Car

March 22, 1992

A Columbia woman has filed a $2 million lawsuit against the county, saying a police officer whose car collided with hers after running a red light was improperly trained.

Phyllis Mattox, of the 9600 block of Whiteacre Road, names the county and police officer Joseph R. Baran as defendants in the lawsuit, filed March 13 in Howard County Circuit Court.

According to the suit, the accident occurred on Aug. 20, 1989, when Mattox was traveling east on Thunderhill Road. On a green arrow signal, she made a left turn onto Route 175 north.

Mattox says her car was struck by Baran's county police car as the police car ran a red light traveling south on Route 175.

At the time of the accident,Baran was responding to an emergency call of a fight in progress, said Sgt. Gary Gardner, a police spokesman.

The accident caused Mattox to suffer permanent injuries to her abdomen, back, right leg and teeth as well as headaches and nausea, the suit states.

The lawsuitseeks $1 million in damages from the county government, claiming that it failed to properly train its employees in the operation of government vehicles.

Citing negligence, Mattox also is asking for $1 million in damages from Baran.

Baran, who works with the Police Department's narcotics division, declined to comment.

Gardner said a departmental investigation revealed that Baran violated department regulations and that administrative action was taken against him.

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