Arkansas woman says she had no safe place to stop in July 2020 when a state soldier tried to stop her for speeding, so she turned on her hazard lights and slowed down. Moments later, the officer crashed into his vehicle, causing it to tip over and injuring the woman, who was pregnant at the time, according to a May lawsuit.
Dashcam footage, obtained by a lawyer representing Janice Harper, shows Harper appears to be slowing down with his hazard lights on after Private Rodney Dunn initiated a traffic stop. She continued to drive for approximately two minutes, during which time a concrete barrier was visible along the shoulder of the road and no exits were seen..
Two minutes and seven seconds after the police car first turned on its lights, the police car struck the left rear edge of Harper’s vehicle during a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver, which is often used in police pursuits, causing his vehicle to swerve on the highway. 67/167, hits a barrier and returns.
The video received viral attention in early June and was edited clip has been viewed over 6 million times on social media.
When Dunn first walked to his vehicle, Harper told Dunn she didn’t stop right away because she didn’t think it was safe to do so, according to footage from the dashboard camera.
“Well, that’s where you ended up,” Dunn replied.
Harper doubled down on her decision when Dunn insisted she should have stopped sooner, according to dash cam footage.
“I had my turn signals,” Harper said. “I didn’t feel it was safe.”
The lawsuit says the Arkansas Driver’s License Study Guide tells motorists that hazards can be used to indicate that a driver is looking for a safe place to stop when pulled over by police. Drivers should ‘park on the right side of the road [and] activate your flashing or emergency flashers to let the officer know you are looking for a safe place to stop.
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The Harper lawsuit claims that Dunn’s conduct in the attempted traffic stop, which includes the “negligent” PIT maneuver, caused Harper “bodily harm, mental anguish, ‘humiliation and embarrassment’. The lawsuit also names Arkansas State Soldier Alan C. Johnson, who is Dunn’s supervisor, and Col. William J. Bryant, Arkansas State Police Director, as guilty of what happened.
According to Harper’s lawsuit, Johnson and the Arkansas State Police had a duty to ensure that Dunn “safely operated his vehicle on interstate highways in a reasonably safe manner and with the utmost care. great care “. Further, the lawsuit claims Johnson and the department failed to properly train Dunn in the proper execution of a “PIT maneuver during a traffic stop”.
Neither Arkansas State Police nor Dunn responded to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Bryant released a statement via Arkansas State Police, obtained by KARK-TV, defending the use and effectiveness of PIT maneuvers to stop non-compliant drivers.
“In any case where a state soldier has used a PIT maneuver, the fleeing driver could have chosen to end the chase by doing what all law-abiding citizens do every day when a police officer turns on blue lights – they stop and stop, ”the statement read.
Harper’s pregnancy was not badly affected by the accident and her baby is now four months old, according to a CBS News report.
Dunn continues to work as an active duty state soldier, wrote Bill Sadler, a public information officer for the Arkansas State Police, in an email.