PORT ALLEN — A West Baton Rouge Parish jury on Friday awarded two sisters a $2.5 million settlement in a lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development in a 2011 crash that killed LSU football coach Les Miles’ sister.
Jessie and Katie Browne sued the state in April 2012 after their mother Ann Hope Browne, 54, died in a car crash on April 22, 2011, at the intersection of Sugar Plantation Parkway and La. 1 in Addis.
Due to a Louisiana law capping the maximum recovery plaintiffs can be awarded in lawsuits against the state, the sisters will split a $500,000 award, Baton Rouge attorney Frank Tomeny said, who represented the sisters, said Friday.
The lawsuit asserts state engineers had evidence the crossing was unsafe but failed to address it in a timely manner.
The jury found DOTD to be 40 percent at fault for the wreck because the state failed to implement corrective measures at the defective intersection after several fatal wrecks before Browne’s death.
DOTD added a temporary traffic signal at the intersection in March 2012 after three more fatal crashes occurred a month after Browne’s crash.
Relatives of three other people who were killed in a crash at the intersection on Dec. 17, 2011, also sued the state in a similar lawsuit that is still pending in the 18th Judicial District Court.
“DOTD representatives still refer to this signal as ‘temporary,’ but hopefully this will convince them that the Addis community deserves a safe intersection and they will make this light permanent after this verdict,” Tomeny said.
The jury found the sisters’ mother 60 percent at fault for pulling out of the subdivision while her view was obstructed by a right-turning motorist.
Tomeny said Browne died instantly when she was hit by a car as she merged onto La. 1. She was working for a home security company at the time and had never been to the subdivision before, he added.