The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland in Greenbelt against the FAA, claiming negligence on the part of air traffic controllers at Andrews Air Force Base (now Joint Base Andrews) in guiding Maryland State Police Trooper 2 helicopter to a safe landing while carrying Ashley Younger, 17, and her friend Jordan Wells from a vehicle accident in Waldorf.
In addition to Ashley Younger, Maryland State Police Pilot Stephen J. Bunker, 59, of Waldorf; Trooper 1st Class Mickey C. Lippy, 34, of Westminster, a state police flight paramedic; and Tonya Mallard, 39, of Waldorf, an EMT for the Waldorf Volunteer Rescue Squad, also died in the Sept. 27, 2008, crash. Wells, now 20, of Waldorf was the lone crash survivor.
The Younger family did not comment on the lawsuit, which was filled to cover economic, punitive, funeral and burial damages as stated by court documents.
The helicopter was en route to Andrews when it crashed into the woods of District Heights’ Walker Mill Regional Park. Because of foggy weather conditions, the aircraft could not fly directly to Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly and was rerouted to Andrews where an ambulance waited to transport Wells and Younger to the hospital.
Ashley Younger was home that weekend from Frostburg State University, where she was an accounting major, to attend an awards ceremony for her mother, who served in the U.S. Army. She was a passenger in Jordan Wells’ car after an evening of hanging out with friends when the vehicle they were riding in had an accident.
Stephanie Younger saw her daughter at the crash scene and was trying to calm her down from the trauma of the vehicle accident, Luther said. Ashley was afraid because she did not want to leave her mother behind, but Stephanie Younger reassured her daughter of entering the helicopter because she would be taken care of and that she would follow behind in her own car.
When Stephanie Younger arrived at Prince George’s Hospital Center, officials had no clue about any helicopter arriving or due to arrive. Hours went by before Stephanie learned about the helicopter crash.
According to court documents, Bunker could not pick up a navigation system known as a glideslope to direct him to the runway.
An air traffic controller also told Bunker she could not give him a ground-based radar called “airport surveillance radar approach,” which provides lateral and vertical guide to a safe runway landing. No more attempts were made to reach Trooper 2 after Bunker’s communication.
The most recent suit against the FAA related to the crash is a $4 million lawsuit filed Dec. 2 by the state of Maryland and the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania with the District Court of Maryland’s Southern Division. The suit also alleges negligence on the part of the air traffic controllers at Andrews. The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania insured the 1989 Aerospatiale helicopter against physical injury, court documents state.
Wells filed a $50 million federal lawsuit Dec. 7 against the FAA in federal court in Greenbelt. Wells’ right leg was amputated as a result of injuries she suffered from the crash.
Kenneth Mallard, husband of Tonya Mallard, filed a $7 million suit against the FAA on July 21, also in federal court, that also claims the FAA did not ensure Trooper 2′s safe landing.
Mickey Lippy’s widow, Christina P. Lippy of Westminster, sued the FAA in March in federal court for $15 million on behalf of her husband.
An FAA spokeswoman, Arlene Salac, has said previously the FAA is not permitted to comment on pending litigation.