Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

OHP and county sued for chase...

Collapse

300x250 Mobile

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • OHP and county sued for chase...

    The sister of a man injured in an April 19 high-speed chase in Sequoyah County has made a tort claim against two law-enforcement agencies that participated in it.

    Barbara Risley of Roland made the claim on behalf of her brother, Larry Don Fink, 57, of Vian, who remained in critical condition Thursday at Sparks Regional Medical Center.

    The claim, written by attorney Sean Manning of Tulsa, demands $175,000 each from the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The amount is the maximum allowed by state law.

    The OHP and the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department will each have up to 90 days to either accept or reject the claim. Should they accept it, Manning says a settlement between the parties will be made. If they deny it, a lawsuit would be the next step, he said.

    On April 19, Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Barrow received a call from dispatch asking him and Undersheriff Roy Coleman to perform a health and welfare check on Fink, according to a sheriff’s department incident report. Barrow eventually located Fink at a Vian Subway where a Vian police officer had stopped him, the report states.

    Barrow reported he asked Fink how he was doing. “Larry said that he was fine, but he needed to go to Roland to see his sister. I asked Larry if he wanted to hurt himself or others and he said no,” the report states.

    Barrow states he also asked Fink if there was any reason for someone to say he might hurt himself. Fink replied his sister might say that because “she’s crazy,” according to the report.

    After consulting with Coleman when he arrived on the scene, Barrow reported that he went back to the police car where Larry was sitting “and asked him to drive on to Bill Willis Mental Health where we could get all this straightened out. Larry agreed and I followed him on to I-40.”

    Barrow stated that near the Dwight Mission Exit, he saw Fink pull over on the right shoulder of the road and pass a semi-tractor trailer and two to three cars.

    “Once Larry’s car was back on the road, he drove his car between two cars, one in the right lane and one in the left lane,” Barrow stated. “I turned my red lights on and activated my siren, but Larry would not pull over.”

    Soon, Oklahoma Highway Patrol joined the pursuit, which, reports say, reached 95 mph. OHP Trooper Adam Wood led the pursuit. At around mile marker 324, just before the Roland exit, Wood executed a Tactical Vehicle Intervention maneuver, bumping Fink’s Honda CRX to try to get him to stop.

    The maneuver caused Fink’s car to spin out, cross the median and hit the rear tires of a semi truck in the other lane, according to Barrow’s report. After Barrow and another deputy pulled Fink out of the smoking car, Risley and her daughter, Kelly Henshaw, arrived on the scene and told Barrow they were sorry, according to the report.

    “Kelly said that Larry acts normal in front of other people, but when he’s with just them he acts crazy and they’ve been trying to get him some help for a long time,” the report stated.

    In interviews, Risley and her brother, Jerry Fink of Las Vegas, said Larry Fink had been beset by medical problems the past two or three years that led to a deterioration of his mental state over the past year. Risley said Larry Fink had been to Bill Willis Mental Health Center in Sallisaw twice in the weeks before April 19.

    “I don’t know what they did for him, but he had told me the second time he went he wasn’t going to go back,” Risley said.

    Jerry Fink said his brother seemed “very paranoid” and prone to delusions when he visited him last August, including the belief that the Drug Enforcement Agency was going to arrest him because of all the pain medications he was taking.

    Risley said that a series of phone calls Larry Fink had made earlier that day worried his family and prompted her and her daughter to request wellness checks from Adult Protective Services and the sheriff’s office. A family friend and pastor convinced Larry Fink to come to her house, she said.

    But two decisions made by law enforcement trouble Larry Fink’s siblings most. The claim against the sheriff’s office alleges that, because of Larry Fink’s “psychological imbalances,” sheriff’s deputies should have never allowed Larry Fink to drive himself to the mental health center.

    “The bottom line is he shouldn’t have been in that car in the first place,” Jerry Fink said. “The deputy could have gone ahead and handed him a gun; it would have been the same effect. The car is a lethal weapon.”

    Barrow did not immediately respond to a phone message left Thursday.

    The second tort claim, against the OHP, contends that Wood’s decision to bump Larry Fink’s vehicle was “excessive, unwarranted, and improperly utilized under the circumstances of the situation.”

    Though Wood did not return a phone message seeking comment, Kera Philippi, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, said Wood decided to perform the maneuver because of Fink’s “very erratic” driving.

    “The trooper made the determination at the time based on the driving behavior of the individual,” Philippi said. “He performed a TVI and unfortunately an accident did result out of it.”

    Philippi said “more times than not” a TVI will cause the pursued vehicle to simply spin out and come to rest.

    “There’s so many different variables that can come into play when a TVI is performed,” she said.

    OHP Capt. Chris West also defended the decision to perform the maneuver.

    “We’re paid to protect people,” West said. “I think we’re expected to do that ... . Sometimes that means we’re paid to protect them from people that are running from us, and unfortunately, sometimes those people get hurt. They made the initial decision to flee. I believe the public expects us to make those tough decisions.”

    But Risley said officers didn’t have to decide to pursue Larry Fink.

    “They shouldn’t have chased him,” she said. “They could have picked him up at my house, but they should not have chased him.”

    And Jerry Fink said his brother was treated like a “fleeing felon” by law enforcement officials, when he believes the exact opposite is true.

    “I think the whole system failed him, both from the medical standpoint and the legal standpoint,” Jerry Fink said. “He was a victim here ... in the situation. He was not a criminal. He was a victim.”



    Wouldn't the OHP part be covered under the recent supreme court case that says police aren't liable for what happens to the person who is running?

  • #2
    Once again a "family" shirks its reponsibilities to a member. Instead of proactively helping Fink, the "family" stood by doing nothing and then getting law enforcement inviolved by asjing for a wellness check. Why didn't they just go and bring him to the hospital?

    Comment


    • #3
      OHP -County sued

      New twist to this suit. U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on police chases within the past month. This suit looks like an end-run around that ruling. (Mental Health Issues) What the "plaintiffs" are hoping , is that the State of Oklahoma, and the County will "settle" out of court. It's possible, both entities will use that option. Essentially, they're saying, here's $50,000.00, now "go away". If the attorney took the case on "contingency", he gets about 1/3 of that "settlement". Hopefully, both the state and county will deny the claim. That pretty well forces the case to trial. At that time, (pre-trial) State and County will ask for a summary judgement. This essentially is a dismissal of the suit.I've been there,done that on one of these nuisance suits.The "plaintiffs" would be wise not spend any money they haven't recieved. It could well be a long time, or never(hopefully) before they see a dime.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
        New twist to this suit. U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on police chases within the past month. This suit looks like an end-run around that ruling. (Mental Health Issues) What the "plaintiffs" are hoping , is that the State of Oklahoma, and the County will "settle" out of court. It's possible, both entities will use that option. Essentially, they're saying, here's $50,000.00, now "go away". If the attorney took the case on "contingency", he gets about 1/3 of that "settlement". Hopefully, both the state and county will deny the claim. That pretty well forces the case to trial. At that time, (pre-trial) State and County will ask for a summary judgement. This essentially is a dismissal of the suit.I've been there,done that on one of these nuisance suits.The "plaintiffs" would be wise not spend any money they haven't recieved. It could well be a long time, or never(hopefully) before they see a dime.
        Thanks Philip. I certainly hope they don't settle out of court. This case ****es me off, and there was a huge article in the local paper about it. Like the first poster mentioned, why didn't they check on the guy themselves? How were they supposed to know he was going to go coocoo when they dealt with him in person and he seemed fine?


        I live next to Sequayah county, and I can tell you that county is absolutely broke, so I don't know what they'll do. If they end up having to pay money, it's going to hurt an already broke sheriff's department.

        Comment


        • #5
          To those that think the Florida deputy should have "escorted" the woman to the hospital: THIS is why cops can't do that....
          "First of all, then we have to say the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama." - Al Sharpton, March 21, 2010

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Matto View Post
            Wouldn't the OHP part be covered under the recent supreme court case that says police aren't liable for what happens to the person who is running?
            This would only be the case if the chase happened after the Supreme Court ruling. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the Supreme Court ruling happened after the 19th of April.

            Comment


            • #7
              They might be covered. The Supreme Court isn't making law (in theory), so ex post facto doesn't apply here.
              "First of all, then we have to say the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama." - Al Sharpton, March 21, 2010

              Comment


              • #8
                Interesting... I hope they're safe.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by equinox137 View Post
                  To those that think the Florida deputy should have "escorted" the woman to the hospital: THIS is why cops can't do that....
                  You saw this too?????
                  Space for rent .........

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by StudChris View Post
                    This would only be the case if the chase happened after the Supreme Court ruling. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the Supreme Court ruling happened after the 19th of April.
                    If the suit is federal, then the new SCOTUS ruling would apply. If its a state suit, it MAY apply. It doesn't matter if the event occured before the decision or not.

                    However, the lawyers will approach the case from a different angle to try an "end-run" around that decision. I'm sure that their claim will be that the officers had no reason to pursue because he clearly wasn't really a threat to himself or others because they didn't put him into custody to take him to the hospital.
                    Originally posted by kontemplerande
                    Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SRT936 View Post
                      If the suit is federal, then the new SCOTUS ruling would apply. If its a state suit, it MAY apply. It doesn't matter if the event occured before the decision or not.

                      However, the lawyers will approach the case from a different angle to try an "end-run" around that decision. I'm sure that their claim will be that the officers had no reason to pursue because he clearly wasn't really a threat to himself or others because they didn't put him into custody to take him to the hospital.
                      The article said it was a state suit, so that's why I said it might cover them....

                      You're right that the lawyers will try to do a complete "end-run" around the decision though.
                      "First of all, then we have to say the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama." - Al Sharpton, March 21, 2010

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SRT936 View Post
                        If the suit is federal, then the new SCOTUS ruling would apply. If its a state suit, it MAY apply. It doesn't matter if the event occured before the decision or not.

                        However, the lawyers will approach the case from a different angle to try an "end-run" around that decision. I'm sure that their claim will be that the officers had no reason to pursue because he clearly wasn't really a threat to himself or others because they didn't put him into custody to take him to the hospital.
                        Well, a US Supreme Court decision pretty well settles the issue over all jurisdictional entities. You are 100% correct in saying that the attorneys will approach suits of this type from a different angle. I believe that's going to be the basis of the OHP suit.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
                          Well, a US Supreme Court decision pretty well settles the issue over all jurisdictional entities.
                          Not necessarily. Although a SCOTUS decision sets the tone for most case law across the country, their intrepretations are based on the US Constitution and its protections. Individuals states can and many do provide greater protections in their individual constitutions. For example, even though pre-textual stops are good to go by SCOTUS standards, severals states (like Washington) they are no longer allowed. What that means is, if a Washington officer does a pre-text stop, the subject would have grounds to file a state civil-rights suits but would be unable to bring to a federal action.
                          Originally posted by kontemplerande
                          Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

                          Comment

                          MR300x250 Tablet

                          Collapse

                          What's Going On

                          Collapse

                          There are currently 5696 users online. 297 members and 5399 guests.

                          Most users ever online was 26,947 at 07:36 PM on 12-29-2019.

                          Welcome Ad

                          Collapse
                          Working...
                          X