City settles for $3.8 million in APD crash that killed a child

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The city of Albuquerque has agreed to pay the family of a boy killed in a crash $3.8 million after an Albuquerque Police officer, speeding through an intersection, smashed into their car.  

It was a horrible crash in April 2017. While headed to a call, former Albuquerque Police Officer Jonathan McDonnell plowed into Antoinette Suina’s car at Eubank and Indian School.

“We just hold him in our hearts everyday and he would want us to live life to the fullest,” said Antoinette Suina in an interview last year. Her 5-year old son Joel Anthony died from the crash days later. 

Not long after, she filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and McDonnell, who had five prior crashes on his record with the department.

About a week after McDonnell’s deposition for the lawsuit in August, the city fired him. 

“I do understand with hindsight that my speed was excessive,” said Jonathan McDonnell in the deposition.  

Now, court documents show the city has settled with Joel Anthony’s family. A city spokesperson said the city reached an agreement of $3.8 million.

That’s much less than the $8.5 million paid out to the family of Ashley Browder. The 21 year-old was also killed in a crash by APD Officer Adam Casaus.

However, KRQE News 13 spoke with Rachel Higgins, the attorney representing Suina, and she says they’ve been talking with Chief Geier about non-monetary changes to the department in regards to the accident. It’s similar to the agreement made with Browder’s family. 

Part of that settlement included a memorial plaque in Browder’s honor, and APD officers are now required to get specific training in driving. They’re also required to watch a video about the deadly crash.

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