Maine police chase dispute ends in settlement

Berman & Simmons has successfully negotiated a settlement with the town of Rockport, Maine, and its police department for the wrongful death of a 16-year girl during a high-speed police chase.

Our firm represented Danielle Benner, mother of Kara Brewer. On the night of Dec. 5, 2015, Kara 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.

“I can confirm that we reached a settlement with the town of Rockport, Officer Craig Cooley, and with the insurance company for Caleb Byras, the driver of the vehicle in which Kara was a passenger,” our attorney told the Bangor Daily News on Sept. 8.

“Out of respect for Kara’s family, I won’t be discussing the amount of the settlement or details of our negotiations over the past few months.

This was one of the saddest cases I’ve ever been a part of. Kara’s death had a profound impact on her family, friends, and the entire Midcoast. Her family continues to grieve, and we ask that people respect their privacy.

At its core, this case was about the policies and laws that govern the actions of police officers. We have great respect for Maine’s police departments and the officers who bravely serve, often under stressful circumstances. But as a society, we also have a responsibility to keep watch on our police forces, to provide checks and balances on their power, to question their actions, and to hold them accountable when necessary.”

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.

Kara Brewer