The family of Brian and Mary Dangerfield and Fauquier County have agreed on a $5 million settlement following a collision in which a former deputy with the Fauquier Sheriff’s Office crashed into another vehicle along U.S. 17, resulting in the Dangerfields’ deaths.
On Feb 25, at 10:20 a.m., a 2018 Toyota Camry traveling west on Route 1700 was proceeding to cross the northbound lanes of Route 17 after stopping at a stop sign when it pulled into the path of a 2014 Dodge Charger being driven by an on-duty Fauquier deputy, Brock K. Smith, 25, of Amissville, according to a news release from Virginia State Police.
Because Smith was traveling at a high rate of speed, he could not avoid striking the Dangerfields’ Toyota, which turned over onto its side.
The driver of the Toyota, Brian Dangerfield, 65, of Bealeton, died at the scene of the crash as a result of his injuries. His wife, Mary D. Dangerfield, 65, was a passenger. She later died from her injuries at Mary Washington Hospital.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Dangerfield were wearing their seatbelts.
Following the accident, the Dangerfield family sued the county for “personal injuries, wrongful death and other damages resulting from this incident,” according to a letter by Jeffrey Breit, one of the attorneys for the family.
Breit noted in a release that the accident was “avoidable.”
A settlement was reached this week between the county and Dangerfield family in which “the full extent of insurance available for these claims” – $5 million – was paid by the county, according to Tracy Gallehr, county attorney for Fauquier County.
Kevin Biniazan, also part of the Dangerfields’ counsel, said in a release “the family is grateful that the claims were resolved quickly and without drawn out litigation.
“But this money could never replace the loss of Mr. and Mrs. Dangerfield,” Biniazan said. “Not a day goes by when the grandchildren don’t ask about their grandparents.”
Smith was initially put on administrative leave by Fauquier Sheriff Jeremy Falls. He was eventually fired.
The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office stated “retraining on policies for proper operation of vehicles has occurred with all Sheriff’s Office personnel … and other policies that relate to the safety of law enforcement personnel and general public have and will be on-going in the future to help avoid tragedies like this from every being repeated.”
Falls did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Culpeper commonwealth’s attorney appointed a special prosecutor, Paul Walther, to review the matter, but findings have not yet been released.
Sergeant Brent Coffey, public information officer for Virginia State Police, told FauquierNow the state police has completed its investigation of the incident and submitted its findings to the commonwealth’s attorney “for review and adjudication.”
Walther did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the state police’s findings.