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Published on March 9th, 2013 | by Daniel Perlman


Fernley woman whose car was stolen at gunpoint on I-80 seeks $1M in damages

The Fernley woman whose car was stolen at gunpoint on Interstate 80 on Jan. 28 is now seeking more than $1 million in damages from the state of Nevada.

Marie Coates filed a lawsuit in Washoe County District Court on Tuesday, accusing the state, the Nevada Department of Public Safety and Trooper David Nivarel of negligence.

On Jan. 28, Nivarel’s NHP vehicle was stolen by 22-year-old Devin Peterson of Jacksonville, Fla., during a traffic stop.

Peterson drove off in the trooper’s car and was stopped after officers with several law enforcement agencies shot out the vehicle’s tires near the Mustang exit.

That’s when Peterson took a shotgun from the NHP cruiser, fired shots into the air and stole Coates’ Pontiac Grand Prix at gunpoint.

Peterson later crashed Coates’ car and then shot and killed himself with the NHP shotgun.

In the lawsuit, Coates said it took “several minutes” until she saw another law enforcement vehicle pursue Peterson in her car. After Peterson had crashed and killed himself, Coates was taken to the scene to collect her belongings and saw Peterson’s body, causing her “extreme emotional distress.”

As a result, she “vividly repeats the incident over and over in her head, while having nightmares seeing the eyes of the violator and witnessing his dead body on the side of the highway,” according to the lawsuit.

Coates’ court filing also alleges the actions of Niveral, the NHP and the state, “were willful, wanton and exhibited a reckless disregard for the safety of citizens and the Plaintiff in this action.”

Reno-based attorney Ken McKenna is representing Coates.

McKenna is also representing David and Crystal Nichols, who filed a similar lawsuit against the state and Niveral in February because of the Jan. 28 incident.

On Tuesday, the Nevada Attorney General’s Office said in a statement, “We will work with our client, the NHP, to handle the litigation.”

If you have been arrested for an Auto Theft the Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman can help. Please contact a Los Angeles Grand Theft Auto Attorney today to have your case reviewed.

Source: RGJ “Fernley woman whose car was stolen at gunpoint on I-80 seeks $1M in damages,” March 5, 2013.

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