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Lawsuit: Trooper Flipped Car in Unnecessary PIT Maneuver

Woman pregnant at time of crash says she had been looking for safe place to stop
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2021 10:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – An Arkansas woman suffered "hellacious bruises" and feared she had lost her unborn baby when a state trooper deployed a PIT maneuver and drove into her bumper on a highway last year, causing her vehicle to flip in a crash caught on dashcam video, her lawyer says. According to a lawsuit filed last month, Janice Nicole Harper was allegedly going 84mph in a 70mph zone when the trooper. Rodney Dunn, tried to pull her over, the Washington Post reports. She says she slowed to 60mph within seconds of Dunn activating his overhead lights and, due to a concrete barrier and a reduced shoulder on both sides of the highway, turned on her hazard lights to indicate that she was seeking a safe place to stop, which is the course of action the Arkansas Driver License Guide recommends. She says the maneuver was executed just before an exit where she could have stopped.

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"In my mind I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. And I was trying to keep us both safe," Harper tells CNN. The 39-year-old was two months' pregnant at the time of the crash. Lawyer Andrew Norwood says she initially feared she had lost the baby she and her husband had spent a decade trying for, but a heartbeat was detected the next day. Harper now has a healthy four-month-old baby. Her lawsuit, which is seeking damages and changes to police training, accuses the Arkansas State Police of failing to properly train Dunn in the proper way of initiating a traffic stop on a road with an extremely reduced shoulder and in the use of the PIT maneuver, reports ABC. In a statement, the force said troopers receive annual training in the "Precision Immobilization Technique." (Read more Arkansas stories.)

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