High-speed police chase death moves toward lawsuit

Benjamin Gideon, an attorney with the Berman & Simmons law firm, has filed a notice of claim against the town of Rockport, Maine, for the wrongful death of a 16-year girl during a high-speed police chase last December.

Gideon represents Danielle Benner, mother of Kara Brewer. The notice of claim is the precursor to a formal lawsuit. The Bangor Daily News wrote about the filing today, and the case has become the focus of news coverage around the state, as government officials and the general public debate issues of public safety and police protocol.

Kara Brewer left behind a large family in midcoast Maine, including four siblings and two step-siblings. She was known for her adventurous spirit, love of fashion and beauty, and dream of becoming a cosmetologist.

On the night of Dec. 5, 2015, Brewer was a passenger in a Subaru Outback driven by 17-year-old Caleb Byras of Litchfield. Byras was speeding and was chased by a part-time police officer from Route 17 in Rockport onto Wotton’s Mill Road in Union, where the boy lost control of the vehicle and smashed into a tree. Byras and Brewer were killed, and a second passenger suffered minor injuries.

Click on the links to read coverage of this case over the past month in the Bangor Daily News and other media outlets.

March 25 Courier-Gazette (Rockland) and Camden Herald “Family intends to sue police over chase in fatal crash”

March 30 Bangor Daily News “Rockport hires firm to review high-speed pursuit policies after fatal crash”

April 8 Bangor Daily News “Rockport takes officer off patrol duties after high-speed chase that ended with fatal crash”

April 13 Bangor Daily News “Survivors family notifies Rockport over intent to sue over fatal high-speed pursuit”

April 14 Portland Press Herald “Family of Rockport teen who died in crash intends to sue”

April 15 Bangor Daily News “Family seeking $5 million for death in Rockport high-speed chase”

Kara brewer police chase

Kara Brewer, 16, was killed during a high-speed police chase in Union, Maine, on Dec. 5, 2015.