Mary Wilcox is suing the city of Asheville and its police department for North Carolina personal injury involving use of excessive use of police force. Wilcox was shot in the leg, liver, and spleen during a police pursuit on May 31, 2007 in the Haw Creek neighborhood.
Wilcox was a passenger in the car that Officer Justin Clinard was chasing. According to police, the driver of the car, Larry Julius Wilson, had tried to run over a cop at a housing development. He then allegedly tried to run down another police officer at an apartment complex. That officer started shooting at the vehicle.
Stop sticks were put out on New Haw Creek Road, which blew out at least one of Wilson’s tires. However, he kept driving and allegedly tried to run over another two cops that fired at his car.
While Wilson has pleaded guilty to one count of felony flee to elude arrest, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, and a habitual felon charge, Wilcox was never charged with any crime. In her Asheville, North Carolina injury lawsuit, Wilcox is accusing the police officers of negligence for firing their weapons. She is also alleging excessive use of police force and inadequate supervision. Officers Clinard, Brian Hogan, Cheryl Intveld, Stony Gonce, and Chief Bill Hogan are among the defendants named in her Asheville personal injury complaint. Four months after the shooting, Clinard left the police department.
Wilcox is seeking unspecified damages for her shooting injuries.
It is important that police officers follow proper procedures and drive carefully even when in the midst of a police pursuit. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 360 deaths a year occur because of police chases. Usually, 1/3rd of the victims are innocent bystanders. However, the reality may be much harsher than what these figures portray because not all bystander injuries related to a police chase are documented.
Persons injured during police pursuits, including suspects, may have grounds for a North Carolina injury lawsuit. It was just in 2008 that the city of Asheville paid two families $1.5 million for police chase-related injuries. A truck driver died and his passenger was injured when cops chased him the wrong way on an interstate exit ramp and his vehicle was struck head-on by a car.
Woman injured in Haw Creek police chase shooting files lawsuit, Citizen-Times, June 17, 2010
Deaths lead police to question high-speed chase police, USA Today, April 22, 2010
Related Web Resource:
City of Asheville, NC