ATLANTA (AP) - A woman whose arm was amputated after a collision involving an Atlanta police officer is suing the city.
Lisa Williams filed a lawsuit Thursday in Fulton County State Court. The suit asks for a jury trial and seeks damages for physical and mental pain and suffering, as well as for medical expenses.
“It is very disappointing to know that the city has not taken responsibility for the traumatic change in my life,” Williams said Friday in an emailed statement from her lawyer.
The city had not received the lawsuit, a spokesman said in an email Friday.
The lawsuit says Williams was driving through an intersection on Feb. 21 when Officer Dejoira Phillips slammed into the side of her vehicle with a patrol car.
The lawsuit says Williams had a green light and Phillips had a red light. There’s no indication Williams heard or saw the patrol car before the collision, the lawsuit says.
The officer violated the law by failing to slow down to assure safe passage before going through a red light at an intersection, the lawsuit says. The law also doesn’t allow officers to drive faster than the speed limit, even during an emergency, if it can’t be done without endangering life or property.
Williams’ left arm had to be amputated at the scene between the shoulder and elbow as a result of the wreck.
The crash was investigated by the Georgia State Patrol. The incident report says Phillips had activated her patrol car’s emergency lights but failed to yield at the intersection. The report also says there’s a building on one corner of the intersection that would have obstructed the view for both drivers.
Atlanta police also referred the collision to the department’s office of professional standards for investigation, which is standard for officer-involved wrecks, Officer Jarius Daugherty said in an email. Phillips was still on active duty with the department.
The incident report lists Williams’ last name as Akazaawie, but her lawyer, Harold Spence, said that was her married name and she now goes by Williams.
Spence said in an emailed statement that the lawsuit is intended to hold the city financially accountable for the permanent injuries and losses Williams suffered.
“Our government’s highest responsibility is to protect its citizens,” Spence said. “The City of Atlanta first failed Lisa Williams when a carelessly operated patrol car ran a red light and collided with her vehicle, severing Ms. Williams’ left arm.”
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