The state of Pennsylvania will pay $475,000 to the estate of a man who died underneath a bulldozer that Pennsylvania State Police had used to chase him for growing a handful of marijuana plants, according to a settlement revealed in court Thursday.
Gregory Longenecker, a 51-year-old short-order cook and Grateful Dead fan, had fled into thick brush after being caught growing 10 marijuana plants on public land near Reading. His body was found under the treads of a Pennsylvania Game Commission bulldozer that state police had commandeered in pursuit.
The lawsuit by Longenecker’s family contended that state police and the game commission took “crazy and lethal action” against an unarmed man who posed no threat, then destroyed or withheld evidence to cover it up.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Jordan Strokovsky, said outside court Thursday that Longenecker’s family is pleased with the settlement but wants “sweeping reforms to prevent such an excessive show of force and tragedy like this in the future.”