$11 million settlement reached for 2021 fatal crash during Portsmouth police chase

Calvin vigil
Posted at 9:30 AM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 16:40:26-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Almost a year ago on March, 13, 2021, Portsmouth Police engaged in a car chase with a suspect wanted for multiple crimes. The chase spanned across the city and into heavily traffic areas.

While attempting to evade police, the suspect hit a Chrysler 200, killing a man, Calvin Majette, III, and leaving a woman with life-threatening injuries.

Related: Woman charged with manslaughter after police pursuit ends in fatal crash in Portsmouth

A year later, the woman that had life-threatening injuries due to the fatal crash, Temika Pleas, is alive and settling her insurance policy claim.

“This terrible collision occurred because a police officer violated principles of proper police conduct by engaging in a high-speed chase in a highly trafficked area near Downtown Portsmouth,” the Brett Biniazan Trial Lawyers said in a press release. “The person being chased did not present a danger to the officers or other citizens of Portsmouth until the police officer recklessly engaged in a dangerous chase.“

The City of Portsmouth is insured with an $11 million per occurrence policy, so the trial lawyers at Breit Biniazan sent a time-sensitive demand package to the City demanding a policy limits settlement, they said in a press release.

Upon receiving the package, the City and the carrier asked for clarification and supplementation, which was provided along with a 30-day extension.

“The Portsmouth police could have avoided this tragedy all together,” said Del. Don Scott, one of the attorneys for the family. “It’s very unfortunate that the family had to go through this. There are police procedures and policies that were violated in this case. Our hope is that this settlement will be a lesson learned by everyone on what is or isn’t a safe pursuit.”

According to Brett Biniazan Trial Lawyers, it was the expectation that they would agree to provide 100% of the coverage. If not, Breit Biniazan advised that the demand would be withdrawn and suit would be filed.

On the final day of the City’s deadline, the full coverage of $11 million was tendered to Temika Pleas and her family.

“The amount of the settlement will provide some sense of stability for this family,“ said Attorney Kevin Biniazan. “While there will never be sufficient funds to replace a life, we hope this will provide some comfort and security,” said Attorney Kevin Biniazan.

Related: Portsmouth man killed by woman involved in police pursuit remembered

Temika Pleas suffered severe and permanent injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, multiple fractured and broken bones, and a lost spleen. She was left hospitalized at Sentara Norfolk General for approximately two weeks and her cognitive function will never be the same.

Pleas was employed and had three children to take care of at the time of the crash, but due to her hospitalization she was unable to do so.

Since the accident Pleas was hospitalized for mental health crisis after being unable to cope with her head injury gotten from the police pursuit and her inability to care for her children.

Pleas' sister will be living with the family and helping take care of Pleas as well as help raise her children.

The money received from the settlement has been placed in a trust for the Pleas and her children.

News 3 has reached out to the City of Portsmouth for a statement and City Attorney Burle Stromberg said:

"While the settlement can never bring back Mr. Majette, the City and its excess insurance carrier are able provide some assistance to Ms. Pleas and her family. We appreciate the way Ms. Pleas’ attorneys, Jeffrey Breit and Delegate Don Scott, handled this matter so that it could be settled within the City’s policy limits."

Related: Sister speaks out about loss of brother after he was hit by woman trying to flee Portsmouth Police