Attorneys Seek Lawsuit Against Officer, Unified Police In Death Of Homeless Woman
SOUTH OGDEN, Utah — A complaint filed in Utah’s Third District Court claims Unified Police Department should have never allowed one of their officers to get behind the wheel of a patrol car because of her previous driving record.
That officer was accused of running over 20-year-old Cindreia Europe, who was lying in a parking lot.
On March 6, an employee at the Pizza Hut near 2300 East and 3300 South in Millcreek called 911, stating that someone was taking a nap in their parking lot. He was concerned that the person might get hit.
Attorney Eric Hinckley showed media the surveillance video from that night, which showed officer Megan Franklin’s patrol car entering the parking lot first.
Europe, who was homeless at the time, can be faintly seen on the ground, where she’s run over, dragged by the patrol, car and dropped roughly 45 feet later.
“She’s been called to protect and to serve. She’s responding to the welfare check of the individual who she runs over,” Hinckley said. “Tragically, officer Franklin entered the parking lot at an alarming rate of speed, given the circumstances, and failed to watch where she was going.”
Hinckley believed Franklin’s patrol car ran over Europe a second time, as she turned left, ultimately killing Europe. Hinckley said Franklin should have never been behind the wheel of that patrol car because of her lengthy driving record with West Valley Police Department.
“During her time at West Valley City, officer Franklin had at least seven reported instances of misconduct, while driving her patrol vehicle,” Hinckley said. “In fact, officer Franklin had resigned as a result of her poor driving history.”
The legal complaint detailed incidents where Franklin reportedly struck rocks, rear-ended a vehicle and struck a vehicle while making a U-turn. The complaint names West Valley City for not properly warning Unified Police of her record. It also alleged dispatchers at Valley Emergency Communications Center could have done a better job of telling Franklin and other officers that Europe was lying in the parking lot.
Hinckley is pursuing the lawsuit on behalf of Europe’s mother, who lives in Colorado.
“(Cindreia) was a writer,” Hinckley said. “She loved to write. We understand she had a lot of contact with people in the Millcreek community. She liked to spend a lot of time at the Millcreek library.”
Hinckley said Europe had parked her car in that Pizza Hut parking lot earlier in the day but returned to find it had been towed away. He said there’s no clear explanation for why she had passed out on the pavement. Hinckley said Europe showed no signs of being sick or under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill had previously decided not to pursue charges against Franklin. A Unified Police spokeswoman told KSL that they had not seen the complaint filed in court and that Franklin no longer works for the department.
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