Florida couple visiting Scottsdale relives being hit by police officer
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s a crash that still haunts an out-of-state couple who was visiting the Valley. “Every time I go to a red light the first thing, I do is look in the rearview mirror and make sure the guy behind me is stopping,” said Danny Stites.
A quick trip to Scottsdale from Florida took a turn last November when Danny and Jessica Stites were hit hard in a car while stopped at an intersection. “Pretty severe enough my Apple Watch actually dialed 911 right away. The pain in my back was so bad I didn’t even realize until the emergency personnel helped me get out of the car that I had a broken ankle, Danny said.
The person who crashed into the couple was an officer, Michael Lanouar, from Scottsdale PD. The revaluation became more shocking to the couple when they learned the toxicology report for Lanouar came back with more than double the legal limit for alcohol. “How do you react to that. Who thinks that’s ever going to happen to you,” said Jessica. “We don’t travel and expect that it’s going to be the police that ends up causing you harm I think that’s the part that really gets to you.”
Lanouar is no longer an officer with the Scottsdale police department. In the police report, an officer questioned Lanouar, who said he was off duty at the time, driving an unmarked unit. Another officer investigated the pub Lanouar came from, where they found he had several drinks.
He was taken into custody following the crash and was recently charged with multiple felonies. “The reason it became a felony case is because of the victims’ injuries if the victims have severe injuries like broken bones which that is the case in that scenario then the city will push it to the state or county and make it a crimson case,” said John Kelly, the lawyer representing Dan and Jessica.
While still shaken up, Jessica and Dan are hopeful Scottsdale police will take action. “It’s just one person in the police department, but I certainly hope they make an example out of it so it doesn’t happen again,” said Jessica.
The couple has filed a claim against the City of Scottsdale. Lanouar is charged with aggravated assault and endangerment.
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