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Officer fined $185 for speeding in crash that paralyzed boy Read more at the Washington E

A Montgomery County police officer who hit and paralyzed a Clarksburg boy with his cruiser received a $185 speeding ticket and is now canvassing neighborhoods that show spikes in crime.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Luis Jovel Jr. is a quadriplegic with permanent brain damage who needs around-the-clock medical care for the smallest of tasks, including eating and getting dressed.
State officials won't say whether Officer Jason Cokinos was disciplined following the April 2008 incident in Clarksburg.

"Personnel information is subject to [state] confidentiality laws," said Patricia Via, who represented Montgomery County in the Jovel family's civil lawsuit against the county and Cokinos.

Cokinos' case qualified under the state's confidentiality laws once the county police department's internal affairs division became involved, said Lt. Paul Starks, spokesman for Montgomery police.

"When the case is referred to the Internal Affairs Division, it's considered a personnel matter," he said.

Cokinos, who was 23 at the time, was speeding at 56 miles an hour in a 30-mile-an-hour zone when he struck Luis -- who was crossing Springtown Road in front of his home.

Seven months later in November, a Montgomery County District Court judge found Cokinos not guilty of negligent driving or contributing to an accident.

Cokinos then pleaded guilty to driving 26 miles-per-hour over the limit and he paid a $185 fine, including a $25 court fee.

A police investigation concluded that the boy would not have been hit had Cokinos been traveling at the speed limit, however.
The county will pay the Jovel family $400,000 in damages. The amount of damages the family could request was limited to $200,00 per case by a state law that restricts the legal liability of local governments.

Cokinos was traveling to an off-duty job when he struck Jovel.

Starks said the case qualifies for limited liability because he was in his police cruiser and wearing his uniform.

"If you are in the [cruiser] you are not considered off duty," Starks said. Cokinos is now serving on one of two "community action teams," which ramp up patrols in areas of the county where officers identify an uptick in criminal activity.


Read more at the Washington Examiner:  link to www.washingtonexaminer.com