A Chattanooga woman is suing the police department after a suspect in a stolen car crashed into her car while officers were in pursuit.
The incident took place in April 2020 when Officer Joshua Price was driving his patrol car. Police say he was nearly hit head-on by a silver Honda Pilot being driven by Diamante Robinson.
Price told another officer before the pursuit that he was forced off the road and had to swerve to avoid death or serious injury.
Price turned his patrol car's lights on and ran the plates while chasing Robinson and discovered the car had been stolen in Signal Mountain, the arrest report says, adding that Price believed Robinson "was intentionally trying to hit/run him off the road."
After Robinson refused to pull over, Price got permission from his supervisor, Sgt. Mitch Moss, to pursue in a chase based on the information Price gave Moss about Robinson's alleged attempt to hit Price head-on. Robinson tried to hit Price with his car a second time, police say.
After a short pursuit, according to the arrest report, Robinson crashed at Roanoke Avenue and Wilcox Boulevard in Avondale. Robinson and his passenger, Raymond Edwards, were taken into custody.
Read the Fields v. Chattanooga lawsuitView
What's not included in the arrest report is that Robinson had flipped in his car when he "violently collided" with a car driven by Sharane Fields, according to the lawsuit. Fields also had her 10-year-old daughter in the car with her.
The lawsuit by Fields in April of 2021 states both she and her daughter suffered painful injuries that could be permanent.
Fields' lawsuit claims Price and his supervisor committed "several acts of common law negligence." The lawsuit also claims Price and the department did not properly follow its own pursuit rules by engaging in the chase in the first place.
"The officer engaged in a pursuit of a suspect when the officer did not have reasonable suspicion that the suspect had committed or was committing a violent felony," the lawsuit says.
In an investigation report filed after the lawsuit was filed, Lt. D. Bakari Welles wrote that after reading the initial report and reviewing video footage from the incident, Price "acted in a manner that is consistent with the Chattanooga Police Department's pursuit policy."
"About 30 seconds into the pursuit, you notice via vehicle camera that Officer Price loses sight of the vehicle and is then out of the pursuit," Welles wrote. "Moments after that, other officers in the immediate vicinity advised that the suspect vehicle is deemed disabled at the intersection of Roanoke and Wilcox Boulevard."
The owner of the Honda Pilot that was stolen was also named in the lawsuit, along with Robinson.
Fields is suing for damages of up to $575,000, according to the lawsuit. Attorneys Bryan Capps and Tony Sax are representing Fields.
Robinson was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. Those charges were bound over to a grand jury.
Contact Patrick Filbin at email@example.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.