Arkansas state trooper sued for allegedly causing a pregnant woman's car to flip during traffic stop
Published Thursday, June 10, 2021 11:41PM EDT
An Arkansas woman is suing a state trooper after she claims he performed a dangerous pursuit intervention technique (PIT) manoeuvre during a traffic stop, which caused her vehicle to flip on its top as she attempted to pull over.
An attorney for Janice Nicole Harper filed the lawsuit last month in Pulaski County, the county seat of Little Rock. Harper, who was two months pregnant at the time of the July 9, 2020, incident, alleges Arkansas State Police Trooper Rodney Dunn negligently performed the PIT manoeuvre that resulted in a motor vehicle collision.
Alan C. Johnson, an Arkansas State Trooper and Dunn's supervisor, along with Col. William Bryant, Arkansas State Police director, are also named in the suit.
The suit also states that Arkansas State Police failed to train Dunn in the appropriate manner of initiating a traffic stop on a road with extremely reduced shoulder and in proper and safe PIT manoeuvre technique.
CNN has reached out to the Arkansas State Police for a statement. CNN has not been able to reach Dunn, and it is unknown if he has an attorney.
According to the lawsuit, Harper was traveling on US Highway 67 when Dunn clocked her speeding -- she was going 84 mph in a 70 mph zone. The suit states that Dunn activated his emergency lights to initiate a stop on Harper. Within seconds of the trooper initiating his overhead lights, Harper turned on her blinkers and dropped her speed to 60 mph and moved into the right travel lane.
According to the Arkansas Driver License Guide, when drivers are being stopped by the police, they should activate their turn signal or emergency flashers to indicate they are seeking a safe place to stop and pull over to the right side of the road.
However, due to concrete barriers and a reduced shoulder on both sides of the road, Harper was unable to safely stop her vehicle on the right or left shoulder, according to the lawsuit.
Dashcam video from Dunn's patrol car on the night of the incident shows Harper traveling in the right lane with her hazard lights on and slowing down. In the video obtained by CNN, Dunn performed a PIT manoeuvre on Harper's vehicle allegedly causing her to lose control, flipping the car on its top.
"There were no exits or shoulder for Plaintiff to safely exit the highway, before Defendant Dunn negligently executed a PIT manoeuvre 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 stated.
Dunn was seen in the dashcam video approaching the wreckage. As he helps her out, he is heard asking her, "why didnt you stop?"
Harper is heard telling Dunn "because I didn't feel like it was safe".
Harper was cited in the incident for speeding and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, Denton said.
The video also shows that Harper told the trooper she was pregnant as she attempts to get out of the flipped SUV. An attorney for Harper told CNN his client did sustain undisclosed injuries in the accident and sought medical treatment. Harper's unborn child was not harmed, according to attorney Joe Denton.
"Defendant Dunn's conduct constituted a reckless attempt to engage in conduct that created substantial risk of physical injury to Plaintiff," the lawsuit read.