The father of an East Northport woman who was critically injured when she drove into a utility pole while being chased by Suffolk police last year has filed a lawsuit against the county and police department, claiming the pursuit violated protocol and her constitutional rights.
Alyssa Leppert’s father, John K. Leppert, filed the lawsuit in federal court in Central Islip, claiming that police who pursued the motorist acted recklessly in chasing her on April 4, 2015, and that they deprived her of her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights while violating the police department’s own rules for pursuits stemming from low-level traffic violations.
“Ms. Leppert was ultimately diagnosed with traumatic brain injury,” read the lawsuit filed by Paul Pepper of Garden City, “and since April 4, 2015, remains in a minimally responsive state, unable to speak, ambulate or feed herself or perform the most basic of tasks on her own.”
“Because the officers involved in the pursuit lacked adequate training and supervision, they violated virtually every Suffolk County Police protocol, rule and guideline governing police pursuits of individuals suspected of minor traffic infractions,” read the lawsuit
It seeks unspecified damages.
A Suffolk County spokeswoman, Vanessa Baird-Streeter, declined to comment, citing the county’s policy concerning pending litigation.
The incident occurred after an officer tried to pull Leppert, then 22, over in a cul-de-sac on Kurt Lane in Hauppauge. Police have said she took off in a Chevrolet TrailBlazer and tried to evade the officer by crossing the lawns of several houses to get onto Route 111.
They said she drove north on Route 111, but lost control and struck a utility pole and tree about 20 yards south of Route 347.
The lawsuit said Leppert was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital and was treated for broken bones and internal trauma.