Judge Tosses $20M Suit Against Police in Pennsylvania Pursuit Death

March 11, 2011

A federal judge has tossed a New Jersey man’s suit against a Pennsylvania police department over the 2008 death of his wife in a head-on crash with a suspect being pursued by officers.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel dismissed last month the $20 million suit filed by Daniel LaBar against Palmer Township police. Stengel found the department hadn’t violated the constitutional rights of Jolene LaBar during their pursuit of a man suspected of shoplifting.

Jolene LaBar, of Washington Township, N.J., was on her way to home from her job at the Lehigh County Courthouse when she collided with a pickup truck being pursued the wrong way on Route 22. The pickup’s driver, Kevin Messinger, was also killed.

LaBar’s attorney did not immediately return a phone message.

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