We Sued a Westport Police Officer for Setting Up a Dangerous Unauthorized Roadblock

Yesterday we filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of our client, Derek Pereira, against Westport Police Officer Jarrod Levesque for setting up a dangerous and unauthorized roadblock, which caused serious injury to Mr. Pereira. A nearby security camera and a camera in Officer Levesque’s vehicle captured the incident. The news coverage by CBS Boston includes video of the crash.

On August 22, 2016, Mr. Pereira was driving his motorcycle eastbound on Rte. 6. At about 2 a.m., Westport Police Officer Doug Wenson attempted to stop Mr. Pereira for speeding, a civil infraction. When Mr. Pereira failed to pull over, Officer Wenson alerted Officer Levesque, who was located less than two miles east.

In violation of Westport Police Department’s policy, Officer Levesque used his marked police SUV to create a roadblock on Rte. 6. He positioned his vehicle perpendicular to the road blocking much of both eastbound lanes. About thirty seconds later, Mr. Pereira’s motorcycle crested a hill near the police car. Then Officer Levesque activated his emergency lights. Mr. Pereira collided with Officer Levesque’s SUV seconds later.

Officer Levesque failed to follow the police department’s policy for setting up a roadblock. Had he followed the policy and asked a supervisor for permission to block the road, it would have been denied because of the danger of a crash in an effort to stop a motorcycle for minor motor vehicle violations. 

Mr. Pereira struck the rear passenger door of Officer Levesque’s vehicle. Officer Levesque found Mr. Pereira pinned between the SUV and the motorcycle. The collision caused Mr. Pereira serious injuries, including two collapsed lungs, a punctured lung, damage to his left knee and right shoulder, fractures in his spine, puncture wounds, and bruising over much of his body. Mr. Pereira spent about twelve days in intensive care. He will need additional surgery. Officer Levesque was uninjured.

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