WATCH: Police Officer’s Suit Against Woman Whose Son Was Killed in Collision is ‘Offensive’

Albuquerque police officer Johnathan McDonnell is pictured in an undated photo.

A New Mexico police officer with a history of being reprimanded for on-duty crashes filed a lawsuit against a woman whose 6-year-old son was killed when the officer slammed into their vehicle while speeding to a crime in progress.

Jonathan McDonnell of the Albuquerque Police Department filed the civil suit against Antoinette Suina, charging she “failed to yield to an emergency vehicle” when she turned in front of his speeding patrol car in 2017.

McDonnell’s suit counters one Suina filed in January against him and the city of Albuquerque, charging the officer’s “deliberate, intentional, and/or reckless” conduct led to the crash that killed her boy and left her and her 9-year-old daughter, Adriana, severely injured.

“Having killed Ms. Suina’s son, it’s somewhat offensive that he would turn around and sue her and heap more tragedy on this family,” the mother’s lawyer, Geoffrey Romero, told ABC News Thursday. “In effect, it’s blaming her for the death of her son.”

Following the wreck, the Albuquerque Police Department released to the Albuquerque Journal newspaper a list of five on-duty crashes and one unauthorized pursuit McDonnell had been involved in since 2009 in which he was reprimanded. He was suspended in three of the incidents, according to the report.

A Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy who investigated the crash wrote in a report, obtained by ABC News, that McDonnell was going 67 miles per hour when he hit Suina’s SUV. The deputy noted that “the design of the roadway and intersection makes it hard to see oncoming vehicles in both directions when there are vehicles in the turn bays to proceed east and west.”

The deputy, according to the report, concluded, “It is my opinion that Officer McDonnell was operating his vehicle at a speed too fast for conditions at the time, however, Officer McDonnell was authorized to operate his vehicle in an emergency response.” Due to “multiple factors involved” in the crash, the deputy wrote, “I do not feel charges are warranted at this time for either driver.”

Romero said McDonnell entered a busy intersection at such a high rate of speed Suina did not see his patrol vehicle or hear a siren until he slammed into the passenger side of her sport utility vehicle as she made a left turn in front of him.

But in his countersuit, filed on Friday in the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, McDonnell claims he entered the intersection with his “emergency lights and sirens fully engaged.”

“Jonathan McDonnell was not negligent in operating of the vehicle at all relevant times,” according to the officer’s lawsuit.

Suina’s “actions were the direct and proximate results of the collision,” the court papers read. The suit goes on to charge that Suina “breached her duty by operating her motor vehicle in a negligent manner” and that she “failed to properly look out, failed to yield to the right-of-way traffic and failed to yield to than emergency vehicle.”

McDonnell remains on the police force, but is on disability leave, officials said.

The collision occurred April 17 about 6 p.m. as McDonnell was responding to a report that a man armed with a machete was threatening people at a grocery store.

Suina’s lawsuit cites police dispatch records that initially reported the crime in progress as a “priority 1” but had reduced the emergency call to a “priority 2” about a minute before the crash occurred.

“Despite information that reasonably should have indicated the call was less urgent, Defendant McDonnell continued to respond to the location by driving his police unit at a very high rate of speed, without due caution or regard for the rights and safety of the general public…,” Suina’s lawsuit charges.

Surveillance video of the crash obtained by ABC station KOAT-TV in Albuquerque shows McDonnell’s patrol car heading north on a busy six-lane road and plowing into the passenger side of Suina’s SUV turning in front of him, sending the vehicle spinning out of control and into a light pole.

PHOTO: A wrecked car is surrounded by scene tape after a police-involved crash in Albuquerque, N.M. in 2017.KOAT
A wrecked car is surrounded by scene tape after a police-involved crash in Albuquerque, N.M. in 2017.
Suina’s son, Joel Mumaw, was rushed to a hospital, where he died the next day, officials said. Suina and Ariana were hospitalized with severe injuries, officials said.

In his suit against Suina, McDonnell — a married father of three young children — is asking for undisclosed damages, saying he still requires medical treatment for injuries he suffered in the collision.

McDonnell claims he “suffered, and will continue to suffer a loss of household services, loss of wages, loss of recreational activities and a loss of enjoyment of life.”

Suina’s suit also asks for undisclosed damages and says the “negligence and recklessness” of McDonnell caused her “to suffer … the companionship of her son.”


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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