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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Police Department has agreed to pay $700,000 to the family of a woman who was killed in a car accident involving an off-duty LMPD officer.
Sources say settlement of the lawsuit, which was filed by the family of 22-year-old Sarah Bearden, avoids a costly trial that would be difficult for both sides, and protect's Bearden's family from having to re-live the painful turn of events.
Police say that, in May 2010, a car driven by Bearden and a vehicle driven by off-duty police officer James Adams collided in the intersection of Hurstbourne Pkwy. and Headley Hill.
Adams was off duty at the time.
Records showed that Bearden had been drinking, but the family claimed Adams' reckless driving was the real cause of her death. Her family says Bearden had drank only one glass of wine the night of the crash.
"There is evidence that Sarah Bearden had been drinking," family attorney Char Gardner told WDRB previously. "But alcohol did not kill Sarah Bearden. Speed killed Sarah Bearden."
The family's attorneys tell us LMPD had taken a blood alcohol sample, but the department lost it.
A Louisville Metro Police investigation revealed that Adams was speeding at 80 mph in a 45 mph zone.
In a letter to the Bearden family, Adams admits he was speeding and says he understands that played a role on in the 22-year-old's death.
Adams writes: "I was traveling at a speed that made me (contributorily) negligent when Sarah's vehicle turned out in front of me."
He goes to say "I will never forget this accident and Sarah's unnecessary, untimely death. It is a memory which will probably haunt me throughout my lifetime."
County Attorney Mike O'Connell, who represents the Police Department, released this statement: "Both sides have weighed the facts of the case and we have come to a mutually satisfactory resolution."
Following the accident, the police department suspended Adams for 30 days without pay and he lost his take-home car privileges.
Then Police Chief, Robert White publicly said he wanted Adams to be fired, but that never happened.