Couple contemplates lawsuit in arrest

Couple contemplates lawsuit in arrest

June 24th, 2010 by Todd South in News

A newlywed couple have met with police, received apologies and are happy with the result, but still may seek damages for their ordeal.

Married June 13, Eric and Aline Wright had a harrowing honeymoon last week when he rushed her to the hospital with strokelike symptoms.

Chattanooga police Officer James Daves, who saw Mr. Wright go through two red lights, followed him to the hospital and later had him arrested on seven counts, including one felony charge.

Since the June 16 incident, Mr. Wright bonded out of jail, was suspended from his work at Erlanger hospital, then reinstated with credit for the missed time. Mrs. Wright was released from the hospital Friday.

Hamilton County District Attorney Bill Cox dropped all charges against Mr. Wright on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, interim police Chief Mark Rawlston and Officer Daves met with and apologized to the couple for the incident.

Chief Rawlston said in a telephone interview that he thought the meeting went well and they discussed "ways we can prevent this from occurring in the future."

Staff Photo by Patrick Smith/Chattanooga Times Free Press Aline, left, and Eric Wright sit in their Signal Mountain home on Wednesday. The Wrights have not yet decided if they'll pursue legal action after Chattanooga Police Officer James Daves arrested Eric when he sped through traffic lights bringing Aline to Erlanger hospital while she was experiencing stroke-like symptoms on June 16.

Officer Daves was put on leave with pay and Chattanooga police began an internal affairs investigation that is ongoing.

The couple have retained a lawyer, Scott Maucere of Chattanooga, but have not decided "whether or not to pursue damages," Mr. Wright said.

They said they don't see how further punishment for Officer Daves would do any good and that a revised training policy or program for officers who face similar situations would be a better solution.

"It's not going to repair anything that's been broken," Mr. Wright said.

About 11 p.m. June 16, three days after their wedding, Mrs. Wright started showing stroke symptoms at their Missionary Ridge home. She is an emergency room nurse at Erlanger and Mr. Wright is a former Army medic who now works at Erlanger as a nurse technician.

Knowing that delaying treatment for a stroke can cause irreparable brain damage, Mr. Wright drove his wife to Erlanger. Officer Daves saw the car run the lights and pursued.

Once at Erlanger, Mrs. Wright said Officer Daves was aggressive and told them that he would arrest her husband.

On Friday, Mr. Wright was arrested at the hospital and charged with felony evading arrest, assault on police, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment, registration expired and two counts of traffic signal violation.