An 18-year-old motorist was speeding on the highway en route to take her mother to the emergency room, leading Arkansas authorities to use the PIT maneuver to stop the vehicle.
The teen, who is facing a misdemeanor fleeing charge, was rushing her mother to a local hospital in Little Rock on June 30 because she believed she was having a heart attack, according to local news.
“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,’” Tahirah Hart told KATV, noting that she had surgery a few days before.
Hart and her daughters — Kenochia, who was the driver, and Keochia — hopped in the car to make their way to Baptist Health Medical Center darting on Interstate 630, according to the report. Their hazard lights were flashing during the time of the incident.
Footage obtained by the news station shows the moment an Arkansas State Police Trooper used the PIT maneuver as Kenochia exited the highway. The PIT maneuver, or Precision Immobilization Technique, is a tactic used by authorities to stop a car by making a “fleeing vehicle…abruptly turn 180 degrees,” per the Department of Justice.
In the video, after Trooper Montae Hernandez rammed the family, Kenochia immediately put their hands up. She could be heard wailing and begging the officers to help their mother.
“I’m trying to get my mother to the hospital,” the teen said, responding to Hernandez while getting handcuffed by officers at the scene. “She had surgery about three days ago. I was on my way there calmly, and she was like ‘hurry’ up.”
According to a police report, initially, local Little Rock police officers attempted to stop Hart and her daughters, but couldn’t, so that’s when Hernandez got involved in the last minutes of the pursuit, KATV reported.
“You got to help me please, please, my mama,” Kenochia is heard yelling multiple times in the video. “Please help my mama! She just got out of the hospital, she had surgery.”
During the encounter, Kenochia was let go and was able to take her mother to the hospital, per the outlet. In an Aug. 1 statement, ASP Colonel Mike Hagar said they stand by their trooper’s actions “considering the totality of the circumstances.”
In addition, the agency said that while driving, the teen reached 115 mph and didn’t stop when Little Rock police turned on their lights. They added that the teen skipped two hospitals on their journey. No one was injured during the incident, officials said.
“Troopers are trained to consider numerous factors to reduce the risk of serious physical injury or death to innocent members of the public, the officer, and the suspect. It is ASP’s duty to put the safety of the public ahead of all other factors,” the statement said, adding: “Driving to the emergency room does not give someone a free pass to speed, violate laws and endanger the public.”
According to KATV, Kenochia pleaded not guilty to the charge last week and has a court date in September.