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Arkansas woman sues police after brief chase ends with her car overturned

The car of a pregnant Arkansas woman was run over by a prosecuting state soldier who accused the motorist of not stopping quickly enough, according to video of the brief chase used in her trial.

Nicole Harper, 38, went to bed on July 9, believing her unborn child had died in the crash on U.S. Highway 167 in Jacksonville, Arkansas, her lawyer Andrew Norwood said.

“She fell asleep crying,” Norwood told NBC News Wednesday.

Harper was driving 84 mph in a 70 mph zone when Private Rodney Dunn turned on his siren and turned on lights so it could stop, according to his lawsuit filed last month in Pulaski County Circuit Court .

The Dashcam video, obtained by Harper’s legal team, appeared to show her slowing down, activating her turn signals and changing lanes to the right, so she could eventually stop, Norwood said.

But on the southbound stretch of US 167, the shoulders are narrow and Harper wanted to stop safely at an exit, the motorist said.

“It’s basically a bowling alley with bumpers on both sides,” Norwood said. “There is nowhere to go; you are enclosed by concrete barriers on both sides. “

The chase lasted 2 minutes and 7 seconds when the soldier tapped the back of Harper’s car in a “pursuit intervention technique,” more commonly known as a “PIT maneuver,” the lawsuit said.

The tap suddenly caused Harper’s car to turn left and out of sight of the dashcam. The soldier immediately made a 180 and turned around to see the red SUV on its roof, footage showed.

The soldier’s action “was a reckless attempt to engage in conduct that created a substantial risk of physical injury,” said Harper’s civil complaint.

In the video, the soldier approached Harper’s overturned car and, as he was helping him out of the wreckage, asked, “Why didn’t you pull over?”

“Because I didn’t feel it was safe,” she replied.

“Well, that’s where you ended up,” replied the soldier. “Ma’am, you must stop.”

The Arkansas Driver’s License Handbook urges motorists to pull out “to the closest / safest point of the road” when police pull on a pullover.

In the emergency room that night, a doctor told Harper, who was two months pregnant, that a fetal heartbeat could not be detected and that she believed the baby was dead, Norwood said.

But an exam by her OB-GYN the next morning made her heart beat faster and Harper’s daughter was born in February.

In addition to speeding, Harper is charged with failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, resulting in a fine of up to $ 400.

An Arkansas State Police spokeswoman declined to comment on both the trial and the July 9 incident.

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