Authorities in Arkansas have charged an 18-year-old girl after a state police trooper performed a PIT maneuver to stop a vehicle she was driving as she was rushing her mother to the hospital. According to 7 On Your Side, the June 30 incident occurred after Tahirah Hart told her daughters to rush her to the Baptist Health Medical Center as she thought she was having a heart attack.
Hart had initially gone under the knife at the aforementioned hospital. But she told her twin daughters to take her back some hours after she was discharged after feeling pains in her chest. “My chest started hurting real bad, and it started feeling like it was tightening up so I told my kids ‘come on, let’s go, take me back to the emergency room’,” she recalled.
“While we were on our way, my left arm went numb – I had a shooting pain and my left hand went numb,” she added. “I told my baby Kenochia to hurry up and get me there.”
Hart’s daughter Kenochia was the driver, and the car’s hazard lights were activated at the time of their encounter with the police. The family’s car was ultimately stopped after an Arkansas State Police trooper, who pursued them, performed the PIT maneuver.
In the wake of the incident, the family said they want to know why authorities treated them like criminals as it was obvious there was an emergency, 7 On Your Side reported. The video of the encounter shows the officer ordering the family to raise their hands and exit the vehicle.
“You got to help me please, please, my mama,” Kenochia is heard repeatedly saying. “Please help my mama! She just got out of the hospital, she had surgery.”
The Little Rock police in a report stated that an initial attempt to stop the car was unsuccessful, adding that officers “observed the vehicle fleeing and took primary attempting to stop the vehicle.”
“I said slow down and pull over so the police can come beside us and direct us there,” said Hart. “Next thing I know we got hit.”
Kenochia was later handcuffed after the vehicle was stopped. The police trooper was also later heard asking Kenochia what was wrong with her mother after she said she had to get her to the hospital.
“What’s wrong with your mama?” the officer asked her. “She had surgery about three days ago,” Kenochia replied. The teen also said the incident left her scared and shaking.
“I just closed my eyes, got out the car, still had my hands up and just walked to where they could see me,” Kenochia said. “I just closed my eyes. I didn’t know if they was going to kill me…I didn’t know what they was going to do.”
And though officers later allowed Kenochia to take her mother to the hospital, she was issued a ticket for fleeing. She has since pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge.
Per the DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs, the PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) Maneuver is a “technique used by law enforcement personnel to force a fleeing vehicle to abruptly turn 180 degrees, causing the vehicle to stall and stop.”
“Any medical emergency that would warrant high rates of speed necessitates calling an ambulance or dialing 911,” Arkansas State Police spokeswoman Cindy Murphy also told 7 On Your Side.
“In this case, the motorist should have pulled over for law enforcement, who have emergency medical training and who could have aided in safe transport to the closest medical facility,” she added. “Driving to the emergency room does not give someone a free pass to speed, violate laws, and endanger the public.”