Woman who lost eye after police chase ended in gunfire sues Morgan County

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WARNING: The video above contains footage some may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

MORGAN COUNTY, Utah -- A California woman is suing Morgan County after she led police on a high speed chase, which ended with a sheriff’s deputy shooting the woman in the head.

An outside investigation into the shooting ruled it unjustified, but attorneys for Morgan County said they didn’t have all of the facts.

It was late at night on November 25, 2012, and law enforcement attempted to pull over Kristine Biggs Johnson for an out headlight on I-84. A chase began that traveled through three counties, ending with gunfire in Davis County. Dash cam video captured the moment in question, see the video above for the footage.

The footage shows Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Daniel Peay firing his gun at Kristine Biggs Johnson after she refused to stop for police.

The woman survived the shooting and served more than a month in jail for DUI and failure to stop at the command of an officer. She also lost her left eye and will soon undergo her second $25,000 reconstructive surgery. She and her attorney Robert Sykes announced Thursday they are suing Morgan County.

“And that’s the consequence of the improper use of deadly force,” Sykes said. “The unconstitutional use of deadly force… There was no reason to fire that weapon. He was trying to kill this woman, and there was no reason to do it.”

An investigation into the shooting conducted by Davis County ruled the shooting was unjust, but no criminal charges were ever filed against the sergeant. Attorney Peter Stirba is representing Morgan County in the suit, and he said that ruling is irrelevant.

“The United States Supreme Court has squarely held that officers are legally justified in discharging their weapons at suspects that are fleeing or attempting to flee, where if they get back on the highway they will pose a threat to innocent people on the highway,” Stirba said.

Stirba said the purpose of the Davis County investigation was to see if any criminal charges would be filed, and he said the opinion is irrelevant because they didn’t have the same information and all of the facts. Facts like Johnson’s blood alcohol level.

“Not only was the suspect driving in an erratic and very dangerous manner, was engaged in a high-speed pursuit, her blood alcohol content was in excess of 3 times the legal limit,” Stirba said.

Biggs Johnson said she has no memory of the incident, but does have a message for the officers involved.

“I’m hurt that they shot me, but the bottom line is that I am sorry for my actions that caused this,” she said.

14 comments

    • bob

      Unlike most gangs, though, this one tends to only victimize criminals.

      I’ve never been shot at by police. But I’ve never run from them. Or had a reason to. Funny how that works.

  • mickrussom

    Police state murderers probably didn’t kill her outright because they need another scared prison-planet “citizen” to be alive to pay horrific high taxes to pay the LEOs PAY AND PENSION while we have a police state and dictatorship. WHERE ARE THOSE WHO DEFEND THE OATH? You Judas LEOs don’t even get your traitor pay in silver, its printed ponzi counterfeit monopoly money.

    LEOs, you are fat, violent and lazy. You work for an illegal, aggressive government that levies confiscatory taxation and an enemy of faith, freedom, family and liberty. You let the borders be open and the dollar / federal reserve note be counterfeited. LEOs, get off your power trip and turn your rage to the masters of war and not WE THE PEOPLE.

    LEOs defend the scumbag corrupt politicians to keep the pay and pension rolling in.

  • Capsaicin

    A vehicle is as much of a weapon as a loaded handgun. She pointed her “loaded handgun” at the officers and general public. She should be in jail for the rest of her life. 1 month? YOUVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! If the officer had killed her this frivolous joke of a lawsuit and joke of an attorney wouldn’t be persecuting morgan county. People have sick twisted un-hinged insane ways of distorting integrity. All of which they will have to answer for before a JUST God who will be judging based on how you treated your fellow human beings. Ms. DUI driver had the audacity to throw all caution to the wind, get pulled over, run from the police and pay the price. Except she didn’t pay a big enough price. Her eye is a small token of what SHE COULD HAVE TAKEN if she’d killed someone. She should be damn grateful. DAMN GRATEFUL. What a piece of trash her and her lawyer are.

    • COMMON SENSE

      THANK-YOU CAPSAICIN for putting it into perfect words..and keeping hope alive, that there are still decent people out there with some integrity and honor:)

  • JT

    The officer was simply doing what he could to stop a deadly threat. If you came that close to hitting me with your car, AFTER a pursuit, I would do everything in my power to stop you too.

    Sorry lady, you screwed up and it is nobody’s fault but your own.

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