State Police Chase in Clovis Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit

CLOVIS, NM - A high-speed chase in Clovis leads to the death of an innocent passenger, now representatives of the dead woman are suing New Mexico State Police.

The question at the heart of the lawsuit is when should law enforcement end a high-speed chase?

Last November, New Mexico State Police were pursuing a suspect in a stolen truck near Clovis. As speeds reached upwards of 90-miles an hour, the driver, Kyle Mawhorter refused to stop.

On 2 separate occasions, pursuing officers tried a so-called pit maneuver. That's when officers tap the back of the fleeing vehicle in an attempt to make it spin-out.

It worked on the second try, causing Mawhorter's truck to come to a stop. That's when you could see his passenger Kori woods of Norman Oklahoma.

That didn't deter Mawhorter. He fled again, into oncoming traffic, but less than 90-seconds later the chase would end.

Mawhorter crashes through a gate and comes to a stop in a field.

A state police officer followed blindly.

When the dust cleared, Mawhorter was gone and his passenger was dead.

Woods' family claims New Mexico State Police should have abandoned the chase when they realized Mawhorter had a passenger and that she was in danger.

They're suing the state police and the two officers involved for civil rights violations, negligence resulting in a wrongful death, and other damages.

The case was originally filed in state court, but, because it involves alleged civil rights violations, it was moved to federal court.

Mawhorter was found shortly after the crash and he is currently serving a 6-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide.

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