The mother of a 27-year-old Waco woman who died after she was involved in a car crash while suffering a heart attack is suing the city of Waco and a former police officer who the mother alleges recklessly stopped her from performing potentially life-saving measures on her daughter.
Debra Haynes Smith, the mother of Samarian M. Long, is seeking unspecified damages in her wrongful death lawsuit, filed recently in Waco’s 170th State District Court. The suit names as defendants the city of Waco and former Waco police Officer Paul Scrivner.
The suit, filed on Smith’s behalf by Houston attorney Henry Curtis Jr., alleges Long died as a result of Scrivner’s negligence after the November 2017 crash.
Scrivner had been with the department six years when he resigned in August last year after his drunken driving arrest the month before. Scrivner said Thursday he was unaware of the lawsuit and declined comment.
Waco City Attorney Jennifer Richie said the city was served with the lawsuit Wednesday.
“We are looking into it and we will defend it,” Richie said.
Richie said she is unaware at this time if the incident alleged in the lawsuit was captured on video by the officer’s body camera or car dash camera. The Waco Police Department did not issue body cameras to all officers until late 2018.
According to the lawsuit, Long had a heart attack and lost control of her vehicle in Waco on Nov. 28, 2017. Smith witnessed the accident through her rear-view mirror and stopped to render assistance to her daughter. Scrivner was dispatched to the accident scene.
As Smith was providing aid to her daughter “to keep a flow of oxygen to her brain,” Scrivner “commanded Mrs. Smith to back away from her daughter,” the suit alleges.
“Initially, Mrs. Smith continued to render aid allowing oxygen to continue to flow to Samarian’s brain,” according to the lawsuit. “Officer Scrivner then placed his hand on his weapon and repeated the command. Reluctantly, Mrs. Smith released her daughter causing her daughter’s head to slump.”
The suit states Long suffered “anoxic brain injury,” the death of brain cells after the brain is deprived of oxygen, as a result of Scrivner’s actions.
“When large numbers of brain cells simultaneously die, a person can be left with diminished brain function,” the suit states. “If the oxygen deprivation continues, anoxic brain injuries may even become fatal.”
Long died “a painful and agonizing death” nine months later, according to the lawsuit.
The suit alleges Scrivner was negligent by failing to render aid and medical attention and by “failing to allow another to render medical attention until EMS arrived.”
The city was negligent by “entrusting” Scrivner to investigate the accident when they knew him “to be a reckless and/or incompetent police officer.”
Scrivner’s DWI arrest came after he crashed his vehicle into the back of another vehicle on the Highway 6 access road near Bosque Boulevard in July last year. The district attorney’s office allowed him to go into its pretrial intervention program and will dismiss the charge if Scrivner completes the two-year program.
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