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Police Aren’t Liable for Passenger’s Injuries

(CN) - Police officers are not liable for a woman's injuries after they forced her to ride with her boyfriend, who pushed her out of his truck and ran her over, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled.

Carol Turner reported that her boyfriend stole her truck. After police brought James Womack back to the house they shared, the couple decided to stop living together.

Turner said police ordered her, under threat of arrest, to ride with Womack as his belongings were moved to a new location. Turner's daughter-in-law testified that she warned the officers not to leave the couple alone, or Womack would try to kill Turner.

Womack made several stops along the way, but Turner refused to leave the truck for fear that Womack would take it again. Finally, he pushed her out of the moving truck, which ran her over. She suffered a broken pelvis, along with head and back injuries.

The trial court dismissed the case, ruling that the officers did not owe Turner a greater duty of care than they owed the community at large.

Judge Harris of the Nashville-based appeals court upheld the ruling for a different reason.

"We find that the boyfriend's action was an independent, superseding, and intervening cause of plaintiff's injury," Harris wrote, "since it was so remote in time and distance from the officers' actions as to break any chain of causal connection."

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