OCEAN CITY — The family of an Ocean City man struck and killed by a Maryland State Police (MSP) vehicle has filed a wrongful death civil suit against the trooper, the state and the Town of Ocean City.
During the October 2017 Endless Summer Cruisin event, Thomas Lawlor, 57, of Ocean City, attempted to cross Coastal Highway at 76th Street from west to east when he was struck by an unmarked MSP cruiser allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed in response to another incident. Lawlor was struck by the cruiser, operated by Trooper James Price, as he crossed the northbound lanes of Coastal Highway at 67th Street and ultimately succumbed to injuries sustained in the collision.
Last week, two years after the 2017 fatal collision, the decedent’s wife, Rennae Lawlor of Lewes, Del. and her two sons filed suit in U.S. District Court naming Price, the MSP, the State of Maryland and the Town of Ocean City as defendants. Price was named in the six-count suit for his alleged negligence leading up to including the fatal collision, while the other defendants were named for a variety of reasons including negligence in hiring and training the trooper.
The suit is seeking in excess of $75,000 in damages, to be determined by the court, for six separate counts. The counts included negligence, gross negligence, negligence in hiring and retention, a wrongful death claim, a survivor claim and, finally, a respondent superior claim. According to the suit filed last week in U.S. District Court, the trooper was traveling over 60 mph in his unmarked police cruiser without having the vehicle’s emergency lights or siren activated. The suit also alleges Price was looking down and not at the roadway in front of him just prior to the collision.