MTA Light Rail operator charged in death of St. Frances Academy star football player Lamar Patterson
BALTIMORE - An MTA Light Rail operator has been charged in the death of star high school football player Lamar Patterson in Anne Arundel County.
Patterson, a highly-recruited football player at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, was killed when his car was struck by a light rail train last February in Linthicum.
Charging documents obtained by WJZ show that the light rail operator, Tavon Smith, has been charged with negligent manslaughter, criminal negligence, and reckless endangerment.
"The aforesaid defendant on or about the aforesaid date did cause the death of Lamar Anthony Patterson, while driving, operating and controlling a vehicle in a grossly negligent matter," the documents read.
Police said the crash happened shortly after 9 a.m. on February 2 near Maple Road West and Camp Meade Road in Linthicum.
Patterson was heading east on Maple Road in a Honda Accord while the train was approaching the intersection from the north when the collision happened.
At the time, officers said the Honda did not stop at the rail crossing even though the gates were lowering, the signals were flashing, and the train's horn was blaring.
The Light Rail train struck the passenger side of the Honda, killing Patterson. He was reportedly on his way to school at the time.
However, footage later reviewed by investigators showed the rail crossing's arms were not down at the time of the collision as police had first said.
The documents allege that Smith "did recklessly engage in conduct that created a substantial risk of death and serious injury to Lamar Anthony Patterson."
Patterson reportedly had football scholarship offers from Arizona State, West Virginia and Boston College, among other schools.
University of Maryland Football Coach Michael Locksley tweeted last year that Patterson was "a bright and talented young man with so much life ahead of him."
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