Man files $4M lawsuit against Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office

ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A man injured during a car crash and later convicted of DUI is now suing the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office, alleging his injuries were exacerbated by the action of two deputies.

Michael Dunlevy, of Isle of Wight, is seeking $4 million.

Dunlevy was driving down Whippingham Parkway in Carrollton, in the early morning of October 15, 2013. According to his papers filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Dunlevy admits he crashed his Chevy Trailblazer into a tree, was ejected and crashed into a fence, and then lost consciousness.

Document: IOW Sheriff’s Office lawsuit

According to Dunlevy’s court filing, when he came to, he was in shock, and was “very foggy in the mind,” but remembered these details: Dunlevy alleges he was being treated by medics when officers “unlawfully, willfully, wantonly, deliberately and with wicked intent and utter disregard for the plaintiff’s health and welfare, demanded that he not be transported to the hospital but rather that he not be immobilized and that, he comply with their demands to perform field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test.”

Dunlevy claims those actions by Deputy Kris Coughlin and Sergeant Kimberly Davenport deprived him of his rights. When he got to the hospital, Dunlevy’s injuries did require surgery. The lawsuit says doctors diagnosed him with two vertebrae fractures and head and liver trauma. He claims all of those injuries were made worse because he wasn’t rushed right to the hospital.

Dunlevy also claims he lost wages and suffered additional stress and embarrassment, as a result of the deputies’ negligence.

On Tuesday, WAVY.com spoke with Isle of Wight County Sheriff Mark Marshall, who is also named in the lawsuit. While he could not comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, Marshall was able to provide what he called general information already in the public purview.

Sheriff Marshall said that when deputies responded to the crash, Dunlevy was standing up, even walking around. Sheriff Marshall said Dunlevy was obviously intoxicated and refusing to take a field sobriety test. He said Dunlevy at first even refused medical treatment. And Dunlevy did eventually plead guilty to DUI.

Sheriff Marshall also said he believes Sgt. Davenport and Deputy Coughlin acted within the boundaries, policies, procedures and protocols of the sheriff’s department.

WAVY.com did reach out to Dunlevy’s attorney, Barry Taylor, but we did not hear back Tuesday. We also called the attorney representing the Sheriff’s office, but we were told Carlene Booth Johnson was busy with another case.

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