An Arizona Department of Public Safety sergeant put himself in harm’s way to stop a drunk driver careening down the wrong lane of traffic last month- and now the suspect’s attorney is blaming the trooper for the suspect’s injuries.
AZ DPS Sgt. Paul Damgaard’s heroics were seen on dash camera footage when he put his vehicle in the way of Patricia Carvalho, who was going down the wrong lane of Interstate 40 with a BAC four times the legal limit in Arizona. Her two-year-old daughter was in the back seat at the time of the crash, and Carvalho had been fleeing police when Sgt. Damgaard moved into position.
The incident took place near Flagstaff, and resulted in Carvalho being indicted on 17 charges, including attempted homicide, aggravated DUI and endangerment. Authorities found open cans of beer and an open bottle of vodka in the vehicle, and Carvalho later told authorities that she had had seven drinks, two shots and taken three prescription medications prior to driving.
Damgaard’s selfless actions landed both he and Carvalho in the hospital, but DPS claims the bold move likely saved the lives of other drivers.
According to KTAR, however, Carvalho’s court-appointed attorneys -identified as Steven Harvey and Kara Sagi- claim that the sergeant unnecessarily injured Carvalho and endangered her child, adding that the media is allegedly being used to prejudice the jury pool.
Carvalho had initially fled from AZ State Trooper Rich Moses a mile away from where the crash took place, having taken some time and attempting to evade him before coming to a stop due to heavy traffic. When he approached her vehicle on foot, she made her way through traffic and fled.
An arraignment is scheduled Monday at Coconino County Superior Court, and Carvalho is in jail on a $3 million bond.
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