A Utah jury has rejected a claim in a lawsuit that a Morgan County Sheriff’s sergeant used excessive force when he shot a woman in the left eye at the end of a 2012 police chase.
After deliberating for about an hour at the conclusion of a five-day trial in Farmington’s 2nd District Court, jurors returned a unanimous verdict on Oct. 27 that found Sgt. Daniel Peay did not violate the constitutional rights of Kristine Biggs Johnson.
Johnson — who was a Colorado resident at the time of the shooting and now lives in California — was drunk on Nov. 24, 2012, and would not pull over when a Morgan County sheriff’s deputy tried to stop her for having a broken headlight, according to court records. She fled, setting off a 40-mile chase into Davis County and at times driving up to 90 mph on Interstate 84.
The 30-minute chase continued even after Johnson — who drove over spikes set up by officers that ripped off three tires on her pickup truck — ended on a road near South Weber. Blocked in by police vehicles, Johnson made a U-turn and struck two cruisers, according to court records.
Dashcam video shows Daniel Peay getting out of his cruiser and approaching Johnson’s truck as she tries to back out of the cluster of cars. Then, as the truck pulls forward a few yards and hits one of the cruisers, Peay fires a single shot through the pickup’s windshield.
Sergeant Peay’s attorney Julia Kyte told the Salt Lake City Tribune Peay had three seconds to make his decision to fire and pulled the trigger because Johnson was driving toward Christian Peay and the sergeant believed his brother was in imminent danger of being run over, pinned or crushed.