Pennsylvania State Police are being sued by the family of a drug suspect who was killed when he was run over by a bulldozer used by a trooper during a 2018 pursuit and search on public land.
Greg Longenecker's family says state police had no business chasing him with the heavy machinery, especially over the marijuana plants the 51-year-old was reportedly cultivating for personal use.
State police declined comment to the Associated Press.
A prosecutor who investigated Longenecker's death concluded that troopers acted reasonably.
The chase developed as Longenecker and his friend, David B. Light, tended 10 marijuana plants in a small clearing on state game lands near Reading, Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania Game Commission worker, operating a bulldozer in the area, spotted their car parked in a field where vehicles weren't allowed and called police.
State police began a lengthy search. A state police helicopter spotted Longenecker in the underbrush, and the game commission worker, with a trooper aboard, used the bulldozer to blaze a trail in pursuit. The bulldozer was traveling no more than 1 or 2 mph, according to an official account.
How Longenecker got caught in the machine's treads is hotly disputed. Authorities concluded he was high on methamphetamine, crawled under the back of the bulldozer in an attempt to elude capture, and was crushed to death when it made a left turn.
The family disputes that explanation.