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Ohio Agency Sued Over High-Speed Pursuit

November 05, 2012  | 

The Miami Township (Ohio) Police Department must defend a lawsuit filed by a grade-school teacher who was critically injured when a burglary suspect fleeing from officers struck her vehicle.

Officers were pursuing Anthony Barnhart on July 11, 2011. Barnhart was driving southbound on 741 at about 80 mph when he crossed the center line and struck Pamela Argabrite's vehicle. Barnhart was killed in the crash.

Argabrite's attorney, Kenneth Ignozzi, said pursuing officers didn’t follow their own policies and procedures.

"It was clearly reckless to engage in that kind of pursuit through that many red lights, through that many stop signs at that speed at noon, the busiest time of the day," Ignozzi told the Dayton Daily News.

Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

Marco @ 11/5/2012 7:10 PM

Obviously the plaintiffs attorneys don't know case law. They might have a suit if they were struck by the pursuing officers. But being struck by the suspect fleeing leaves the officers and the township immune. They were pursuing a person fleeing a violent felony. (In Ohio burglary is a felony of violence.) Nothing denotes they were operating reckless. To make the assumption that the suspect would have slowed down and driven sanely if the police were to terminate the pursuit lacks any semblence of experience or honesty. To try to hold the officers responsible flies in the face of case law.

Morning Eagle @ 11/5/2012 10:16 PM

Not only does this suit fly in the face of case law, it defies logic. The police were not driving the vehicle that struck hers, the fleeing felon was driving it but he was killed and probably had no assets worth going after but the township has. Attorney Ignozzi sees a chance to make a nice fat fee for himself off of the injuries suffered by someone else. Typical.

Richard Jellicoe @ 11/5/2012 10:41 PM

They were pursuing a person fleeing a violent felony. Don't care what Ohio's law is, a burglary is not a violent felony. Violence perpetrated on a door knob????

NC Cop @ 11/6/2012 5:34 AM

Some people obviously aren't current on the Supreme Court Rulings or state law for that matter. The Court has ruled that Fleeing from Law Enforcement is a Violent Crime. Here is a excert from the case law..."Justice Anthony Kennedy said that while the federal law in question does not specifically mention dangerous car chases, they clearly are the kind of crime that deserves to be treated more seriously."

"Risk of violence is inherent to vehicle flight," Kennedy said. "It is well known that when offenders use motor vehicles as their means of escape they create serious potential risks of physical injury to others. Flight from a law enforcement officer invites, even demands, pursuit."

This is a direct quote from the Supreme Court and you can read it here...

Fed Cop @ 11/6/2012 6:34 AM

Richard Jellicoe, you are obviously NOT a LEO. I'm sure you'd be the first one crying that police are doing their jobs when you're a victim of a crime, like for instance an burglary, sometime called a home invasion robbery, where some POS came into you house, took your big screen, and your signed baseball and left.

Marshal @ 11/6/2012 7:15 AM

Sue the family of the guy that hit her. He was at fault not the officers. Why is it the police are always blamed for someone else's stupid decision. And if someone uses the BS that the police were close enough behind him to be responsible then if that is the case then they should have been visibile to all and aren't people supposed to pull to the right and stop when they see flashing lights? So therefore why wasn't the victim and the other traffic pulled out of the way? Sounds to me the only fault here is with the suspect and the motorists that didn't move for the lights and sirens like they are suppose to.

Robocop @ 11/6/2012 8:03 AM

I feel very badly that this lady was injured, and seriously at that but, let's lay the blame where it belongs. Barnhart is the person to blame, plain and simple. If he had obeyed the law and his duty to stop then this crash would never have happened. These Officers did not crash him or force him into her vehicle nor did they make him flee. I am positive that had they suspected this would happen they would have immediately called off the chase. There is a damned if you do, damned if you don't quality about chasing fleeing suspects. When you don't chase them, they tend to run more often. I wish this lady the best but her payout should not come from the people of Miami Township, it should come from the family and estate of the suspect.

Richard Jellicoe @ 11/7/2012 6:27 PM

Being a LEO or not. A burglary suspect is not a violent felon. Now remember we are talking about a burglary. I have never heard anyone call a burglary a home invasion robbery. I understand the media can not tell the difference between a burglary of an unoccupied home and a robbery where violence or the treat of violence is used, but you should know better. Causing the death of people over the loss of a TV or a signed baseball bat is just poor judgement and pursuit hunger.

ken @ 11/16/2012 2:54 PM

There were two crimes: the burglary, and then fleeing from police.

NC Cop has supplied the particulars on why this second crime is violent.

If police do something wrong that contributes to a crime, then they should be held accountable, but then only to the point that they have contributed, and then with a mind to reason and common sense.

Surely the individual who has committed burglary and then fled in a reckless manner has the main responsibility for the accident and not the police, even if they did exercise some percentage of contribution to the accident.

For, if society does not allow some reasonable latitude for police to exercise some judgment in keeping the peace, then we will arrive at a place where police will be unable to respond appropriately to keep the peace.

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