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Federal Lawsuit Says Kansas Deputy Purposely Ran Over Man With His Truck

Dashcam video of a Kansas sheriff’s deputy driving his truck over a man as he fled officers is sparking outrage.

In the video, 35-year-old Lionel Womack can be seen running from police, shirtless, and unarmed across a dark field when the leading police truck suddenly veers in his direction and runs over him.   

According to Womack, he was traveling in western Kansas on August 15, 2020, when he was pulled over by a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper. He fled the scene in his car and led authorities from at least three agencies on a car chase before running from the vehicle into the field. Police continued chasing Womack throw the field in their vehicles, that’s where Kiowa County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Rodriguez ran over him with his patrol vehicle.

Womack, who is former police detective from Kansas City, Kansas, had left the police department earlier in August after 13 years of service with hopes of growing his own security business.

Womack said in a statement that he hadn’t been speeding nor was he under the influence of anything when he was initially pulled over. His driver’s license, insurance and registration were up to date.

“When the first officer turned his lights on, I pulled over and complied … exactly as you’re supposed to. But when three additional vehicles pulled up quickly and started to surround my car, I freaked out. That’s when I took off, it was a ‘fight or flight’ moment and I was going to live,” he said. “I felt like I was in danger. This was out in the country, late at night, and it was dark. So I ran for my life. That’s what you see in the dashcam video. I’m running in an open field, and I’m scared.”

Womack said he sustained serious injuries to his back, pelvis, thigh, right knee, ankle and foot as a result of the truck running him over.

Womack’s attorney, Michael Kuckelman, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit saying he believes his client’s civil rights were violated.

“This is a particularly egregious case of use of deadly force because what they did is chased an unarmed man into an open farm field with a sheriff’s patrol pickup truck and they literally ran him down, knocked him down and drove the truck over him,” Kuckelman said. “And this was all over a traffic stop.”

According to the lawsuit, Womack was on his way back home from a business trip in California when a Kansas Highway Patrol officer initiated the stop over “an alleged traffic violation.”

Kiowa County Sheriff Chris Tedder has yet to make an official statement regarding the incident and no one from the department has explained why Officer Rodriguez chose to run Womack over.

Womack is still in jail on felony charges of attempting to elude a law enforcement officer by engaging in reckless driving and interference with a law enforcement officer.

According to court documents, he has also been charged with several misdemeanor traffic violations, included failure to drive in the right lane on a four-lane highway, improper signal use and driving without headlights.

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