Wednesday, June 16, 2021
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Arkansas state trooper sued for allegedly causing a pregnant woman’s car to flip during traffic stop

An lawyer for Janice Nicole Harper filed the lawsuit final month in Pulaski County, the county seat of Little Rock. Harper, who was two months pregnant on the time of the July 9, 2020, incident, alleges Arkansas State Police Trooper Rodney Dunn negligently carried out the PIT maneuver that resulted in a motorcar collision.

Harper mentioned she slowed down, however did not instantly pull over as a result of there was no protected place for her to accomplish that.

“The shoulder did not have enough room for my car alone, but my thoughts were also he, the officer, didn’t need to be standing beside my car there. Like there literally was not enough room,” she advised CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

Alan C. Johnson, an Arkansas State Trooper and Dunn’s supervisor, together with Col. William Bryant, Arkansas State Police director, are additionally named within the swimsuit.

The swimsuit additionally states that Arkansas State Police failed to practice Dunn within the acceptable method of initiating a traffic stop on a highway with extraordinarily diminished shoulder and in correct and protected PIT maneuver method.

CNN has reached out to the Arkansas State Police for a assertion. CNN has not been in a position to attain Dunn, and it’s unknown if he has an lawyer.

According to the lawsuit, Harper was touring on US Highway 67 when Dunn clocked her rushing — she was going 84 mph in a 70 mph zone. The swimsuit states that Dunn activated his emergency lights to provoke a stop on Harper. Within seconds of the trooper initiating his overhead lights, Harper turned on her blinkers and dropped her velocity to 60 mph and moved into the suitable journey lane.

According to the Arkansas Driver License Guide, when drivers are being stopped by the police, they need to activate their flip sign or emergency flashers to point out they’re looking for a protected place to stop and pull over to the suitable aspect of the highway.

However, due to concrete boundaries and a diminished shoulder on either side of the highway, Harper was unable to safely stop her automobile on the suitable or left shoulder, in accordance to the lawsuit.

“If you watch a little bit more of the video … it was a little bit before where he hit me, you’ll notice a sign that says the exit is one mile away. Just after he hit me, the road kind of turns and it opens up. And the shoulder does get bigger. There is more space. And it would have been so much safer,” Harper mentioned.

Dashcam video from Dunn’s patrol car on the evening of the incident reveals Harper touring in the suitable lane together with her hazard lights on and slowing down. In the video obtained by CNN, Dunn carried out a PIT maneuver on Harper’s automobile allegedly causing her to lose management, flipping the car on its high.

“There were no exits or shoulder for Plaintiff to safely exit the highway, before Defendant Dunn negligently executed a PIT maneuver on Plaintiff’s vehicle two minutes and seven seconds after Defendant Dunn initiated his Arkansas State Police patrol cruiser overhead lights, which caused Plaintiff’s vehicle to flip.” the lawsuit said.

Dunn was seen within the dashcam video approaching the wreckage. As he helps her out, he’s heard asking her, “why didn’t you stop?”

Harper is heard telling Dunn “because I didn’t feel like it was safe”.

“I thought he was getting on to me, telling me I was doing something wrong, and in my mind I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. And I was trying to keep us both safe,” Harper mentioned.

Harper was cited within the incident for rushing and failure to yield to an emergency automobile, Denton mentioned.

But, in accordance to Harper the trooper couldn’t have thought she was making an attempt to get away.

“I don’t understand how they’re charging me with fleeing when I wasn’t fleeing. That doesn’t make any sense at all to me,” she mentioned.

The video additionally reveals that Harper advised the trooper she was pregnant as she makes an attempt to get out of the flipped SUV. An lawyer for Harper advised CNN his shopper did maintain undisclosed accidents within the accident and sought medical therapy. Harper’s unborn baby was not harmed, in accordance to lawyer Joe Denton. Harper advised CNN the child is now 4 months previous and doing nicely.

“Defendant Dunn’s conduct constituted a reckless attempt to engage in conduct that created substantial risk of physical injury to Plaintiff,” the lawsuit learn.

CNN’s Amir Vera contributed to this report.

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