BANGOR, Maine — A Bradley woman who suffered a brain injury last year when the car in which she was a passenger crashed after allegedly being chased by a Bangor police officer has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court.
Erica Dubois, 20, sued the City of Bangor, the Bangor Police Department and Officer Keith Larby on Tuesday. She is seeking unspecified damages for what the accident report listed as an “incapacitating injury.”
Sgt. Tim Cotton, spokesman for the police department, declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday. City Solicitor Norman Heitman also declined to comment.
Dubois was one of four passengers in a 1994 Jeep driven by James Cook, 22, of Belfast, at about 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2015. Cook sped away from Larby when the officer tried to stop Cook for “an equipment violation” on Finson Road, the accident report said.
Dubois did not name Cook as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Cook allegedly sped away from the officer and was going more than 80 miles per hour when the Jeep left the road just north of Davis Road at 408 Finson Road.
“After getting into the soft shoulder, going down into the ditch and striking a tree and then rolling end-over-end, [the Jeep] came to its final rest near some trees near a newly constructed driveway,” Larby’s report said.
Dubois’ attorney, David Van Dyke of Lewiston, claimed in the lawsuit that by chasing the car Larby “was recklessly and deliberately indifferent to the safety, bodily integrity, well-being and life of plaintiff Dubois and others, and [the chase] was committed in conscious disregard of the substantial and/or unjustifiable risk of causing harm to Dubois and others, and was so egregious as to shock the conscience.”
Dubois also claimed that Larby was negligent and should not have initiated and pursued “a dangerous high-speed chase for an alleged equipment violation.” The weather that night was described in the report as “fog, smog and smoke.” The road surface was wet, the report said.
Dubois claimed the police department did not properly train Larby about when to chase a speeding suspect. She sued the city because it employs the officer.
Cook was indicted in February by the Penobscot County grand jury on one count each of eluding an officer, driving to endanger, operating after suspension, criminal speeding and violation of a condition of release. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 25 and is due back in court next month.
He remained Thursday at the Penobscot Judicial Center unable to post $2,000 cash bail.