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State trooper accused of hitting, flipping pregnant woman’s SUV in botched traffic stop


A terrifying scene was captured on video in Arkansas where a state trooper deliberately bumped a pregnant woman’s car, causing it to hit the median and flip over. 

The officer said he performed the approved maneuver because the driver was speeding and didn’t pull over. The driver, Janice Harper, said it was not safe to stop, CBS News’ Jericka Duncan reports.

The video is now evidence in a lawsuit.

Harper was on her way home from the movies last July when Arkansas State Trooper Rodney Dunn tried to pull her over for going too fast. 

Video from Dunn’s dash camera shows within seconds of turning on his overhead lights, Harper moves into the right lane, slows down and turns on her hazards while continuing to drive.

Dunn hits Harper’s car about two minutes later.

The maneuver caused the SUV to spin on the highway, hit the inside wall and flip. 

Dunn can be heard calling for EMS before pulling over and talking to Harper while helping her out of the car.

“Are you the only one in the vehicle?” Dunn asks.

“Yes, I’m pregnant,” Harper replies to him.

Then Dunn can be heard telling her, “Well ma’am, you’ve got to pull over when we tell you.”

Harper points out to Dunn that her flashers were on.

“It doesn’t matter ma’am,” he says.

Harper says, “I thought it would be safer to wait until the exit.”

“No ma’am, you pull over when law enforcement stops you, OK,” Dunn replies.

According to an Arkansas state driver’s license guide, when being stopped by law enforcement a driver should “activate your turn signal or emergency flashers to indicate to the officer that you are seeking a safe place to stop.”

A new lawsuit from Harper claims “there were no exits or shoulder for [Harper] to safely exit the highway.”

In the video, Dunn tells Harper that he performed a “PIT maneuver” for “when people flee from us or don’t stop.”

“I wasn’t fleeing,” she replies.

Court documents allege Dunn “executed a negligently performed PIT maneuver” — a pursuit intervention technique which put “her life and the life of her unborn child at risk.”

Harper told Little Rock station KLRT she thought she was going to lose her baby.

“What if I had kids in the car? I mean, he wouldn’t have known. Did that matter?” Harper told the station. “What was going through his head? What made him think this was OK?”

Harper’s baby was OK and is now 4 months old. While the full extent of injuries is not known, the Harpers’ attorney said they have heard from several other people saying similar things have happened to them.

CBS News reached out to the state police for comment, and they said in a statement, “Three weeks ago (May 18, 2021) a complaint was filed in Pulaski County, Arkansas circuit court seeking a judgement against Arkansas State Police personnel as it relates to the July 9, 2020 incident involving Corporal Rodney Dunn and Ms. Janice Harper.  Because of the pending lawsuit, the Arkansas State Police cannot at this time provide any form of comment you’ve requested as it relates to this case.  Meanwhile, the Arkansas State Police continues to instruct and train state troopers in comprehensive emergency vehicle operation training which includes the approved procedures in the use of PIT.”



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