Dramatic Video Shows Arkansas State Trooper Flip Pregnant Woman's SUV Using PIT Maneuver
A newly published dashcam video revealed the moment a state trooper allegedly caused a pregnant woman's SUV to crash and flip over.
According to a lawsuit she filed in May, 38-year-old Nicole Harper was driving 14 miles over the 70-mph speed limit when state trooper Rodney Dunn flashed his lights to have her pull over in Arkansas.
Harper, who was pregnant at the time and driving home, felt it was dangerous to stop at that section of I-67, her legal team said in the suit. To indicate she intended to pull over, Harper turned on her hazard lights and slowed her speed hoping to reach a safer area.
"[Harper] was unable to safely stop her vehicle on the right or left shoulder due to concrete barriers and a reduced shoulder being on both sides of the road," the complaint said of the stretch of highway where Dunn drove behind Harper on the night of July 9, 2020. "Therefore, leaving [Harper] with no room to safely pull over her car."
Harper's lawyer, Andrew Norwood, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. Representatives of the Arkansas Attorney General — which is representing the state police — declined to comment citing the pending litigation.
Just over two minutes after he began following Harper, Dunn reportedly used the "precision immobilization technique" — also known as the PIT maneuver — to force her vehicle to come to a stop.
Typically, the PIT maneuver is executed by a police officer who uses their vehicle's front bumper to hit a fleeing suspect's back bumper, causing them to spin and come to a standstill, the Washington Post reported.
As dashcam footage obtained by NBC News shows, Dunn's PIT maneuver attempt apparently sent Harper into the concrete median, causing her SUV to flip on its side. It "placed her life and the life of her unborn child at risk," the complaint states.
"In my head, I was going to lose the baby," Harper told Fox affiliate KLRT of the terrifying moment.
In the dashcam video, Dunn can be seen heading over to the vehicle and asking Harper why she didn't stop.
"Because I didn't feel like it was safe," Harper says in the footage, to which Dunn replies: "Well, this is where you ended up."
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According to CBS News, the Arkansas state driver's license manual says drivers should "activate [their] turn signal or emergency flashers to indicate to the officer that [they] are seeking a safe place to stop" when being stopped by law enforcement.
While in the emergency room later that night, doctors told Harper they could not detect her baby's heartbeat, NBC News reported. She believed it had died until an OB-GYN confirmed a heartbeat the next day. Her daughter was born in February.
Harper told KLRT that she is grateful no one else was in the vehicle with her during the crash.
"What if I had kids in the car? He wouldn't have known," she explained to the news station. "Did that matter? What was going through his head? What made him think this was okay?"
The outlet said Arkansas State Police used the PIT maneuver on 144 drivers last year, and at least three people were killed as a result (including a passenger).