PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The mother of a young girl who was severely injured in a police chase nearly three years ago has filed a lawsuit against the City of Pittsburgh.
As Carolyn Hanner walked into the conference room with her attorneys Thursday to announce that a lawsuit had been filed against the city over a high speed chase, she says she felt there were two wrongs committed back in November 2015.
It was her now-23-year-old son, Donovan Robinson, who was behind the wheel of the car involved in the chase. Police started chasing him after they say he ran a stop sign in East Liberty.
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The chase ended five minutes later in Shadyside when Robinson hit another vehicle head-on. A total of five people were injured, including his 12-year-old sister. She was in the back seat and was critically hurt. After nearly three years, she still has not fully recovered.
“Destiny has a severe brain injury. When the accident occurred, Destiny was bleeding from her brain. Destiny’s liver was just about severed. It was only a few inches away from being sliced in half,” Hanner said.
Hanner says her daughter, who is now 15 and in the tenth grade, still has a problem with her balance and doctors aren’t sure she will ever regain that.
Her brother faced numerous charges and was jailed.
“He got what he deserved. There was no secret about that. He knew that and he heard it from me, but he is still my son. Should he have fled? No,” Hanner said.
But Thursday morning, Hanner’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against the city on behalf of the girl.
Attorney Tim O’Brien laid out what the lawsuit is seeking.
“We’re seeking compensatory damages for the physical injuries, the pain and suffering that she experienced, future curtailment of her ability to earn, depending upon the injury, future medical expenses to the extent that those would be required,” O’Brien said.
“The police need to be trained on high speed pursuits, period, but the greater reason for that is because our police officers are the only people in our society that are given this awesome authority to take away our rights in an instant,” attorney Alec Wright said.
Shortly after the high speed chase and crash, former Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay did put a policy in place. It said in part, “A member of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police may only initiate a motor vehicle pursuit where she/he has reasonable belief the individual(s) in the offending vehicle is involved in a violent, felony crime. Members shall not engage in a motor vehicle pursuit for traffic violations only.”