LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- An Arkansas teenager is facing charges for allegedly fleeing police as she rushed her mom to the hospital for a suspected medical emergency, ABC Little Rock affiliate KATV reported.
During the June 30 pursuit on Interstate 630, state troopers used the "precision immobilization technique," or PIT maneuver, where police intentionally bump a car.
Tahirah Hart told KATV that prior to the incident, she had surgery and felt unusual chest pain hours after her discharge. Hart told her 18-year-old twin daughters, Kenochia and Keochia Moss, that she thought she was having a heart attack.
"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,'" she said.
As Kenochia raced the family to Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, Hart said her symptoms began to worsen.
"While we was on our way, my left arm went numb," she said. "I had a shooting pain, and my left hand went numb, and I told my baby Kenochia to hurry up and get me there."
Initially, Little Rock Police began to pursue the family. According to Arkansas State Police, Moss accelerated when LRPD employed blue lights, reaching speeds up to 115 mph. Police reported that Moss drove past two other hospitals during the pursuit. Hart said she was instructed to return to Baptist Hospital, where she had the surgery if she faced complications.
Five miles into the chase, Arkansas State Police trooper Montae Hernandez intervened, initiated the PIT maneuver and the vehicles collided. Hart's daughters described feeling shooked and scared after the collision.
"I'm thinking I hit somebody, then the car turned around, I just saw a whole bunch of guns and flashlights pointed at me," Kenochia told KATV. "He's screaming get out of the car ... I was shaking. IT felt like I couldn't even walk. I was so scared."
Dashboard camera video shows the family exiting the car and putting their hands in the air.
"You got to help me please, please, my mama," Kenochia is heard yelling multiple times. "Please help my mama. She just got out of the hospital. She had surgery."
Soon after, Kenochia is handcuffed, but eventually Hernandez allowed her to take her mother to the emergency room.
He wrote her a ticket for fleeing, a misdemeanor offense, and later pleaded not guilty in North Little Rock district court. Her trial is set for Sept. 6.
"I'm just being apologetic, scared, I'm 18 years old, I don't know what to do, I've never been in this position, never thinking I'm going to get hit by a state trooper," Kenochia said. "I'm thinking they're going to help us, no help. It's just sad."
KATV confirmed with state police that the trooper's use of force was reviewed internally and justified.
"We stand by our Trooper," ASP Colonel Mike Hagar said in a statement posted to Facebook. "And we stand by the decision he made, considering the totality of the circumstances."
In 2021, Arkansas State Police agreed to limit how PIT manuevers can be used under a legal settlement by attorneys for a woman injured when a trooper caused her vehicle to flip.
Due to the settlement, state police clarified their use-of-force policy, instructing troopers to judge whether using the technique is "objectively reasonable," Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said at the time.
Cindy Murphy, an ASP spokeswoman, told KATV that "any medical emergency that would warrant high rates of speed necessitates calling an ambulance or dialing 911."
"In this case, the motorist should have pulled over for law enforcement, who have emergency medical training and who could have aided in safe transport to the closest medical facility," she added. "Driving to the emergency room does not give someone a free pass to speed, violate laws, and endanger the public."
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the fleeing charge was a felony. It is a misdemeanor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.