BALTIMORE — An MTA light-rail operator was sentenced Friday to 18 months in jail for a fatal crash that took the life of a local high school football star.

Lamar Patterson, a football player at St. Frances Academy, was killed as he drove to school in February 2022 when a light-rail train crashed into Patterson’s car at an intersection.

Tavon Smith, the MTA light-rail operator who was driving the train, will serve the first two months of his sentence at the Anne Arundel County detention center and the remaining time on house arrest.

Smith accepted a plea deal offered by the state, pleading guilty to one count of reckless endangerment.

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In court, the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office showed video of the crash.

The video showed Smith stopping at the Linthicum station on the day of the crash for three seconds, not the 30 seconds mandated by MTA.

Moments later, the light-rail train crashed into Patterson’s car at an intersection.

The state’s attorney’s office also showed evidence that Smith ignored crossing warnings that indicated that gate arms were not down at the intersection.

“There’s nothing that’s going to bring him back. No matter what happened, it’s not going to bring him back, but it’s just the peace of mind to know I see what’s going on, I heard what’s going on,” said Lamar’s father, Paul Patterson.

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Lamar Patterson. (Courtesy of WJZ)

The courtroom was filled with family and friends of Lamar Patterson. His mother delivered a tearful victim impact statement to the judge.

“The loss of Lamar, it’s noticeable. His smile is missed. His actions are missed. He is missed on TV. He is missed on Instagram. He is missed all over. He is missed in my heart,” said Maxine Lloyd, Lamar’s mother.

Smith elected not to speak in court. His lawyer said this is a tragedy in every way speakable.

MTA released a statement following the court case saying: “Ensuring the safety of our riders and employees is the Maryland Transit Administration’s top priority. This was a tragic incident, and the agency expresses our heartfelt condolences to the family of Lamar Anthony Patterson.”