The father whose minivan was rammed as part of a traffic stop now has some piece of mind. The trooper who rammed him will be disciplined after a formal review of the incident.
A seven-member board reviewed dash-cam tape of the incident and ruled that the ramming maneuver, called a “pursuit intervention technique”, was not necessary.
More than three months later, Sam Salter’s minivan still shows the scars, $2,000 worth of damage, which is a painful reminder of the worst New Year’s Eve of his life.
“I don’t want to be angry about it for the rest of my life,” he said. “I’m just trying to move on.”
Salter was driving home from the Twin Cities to Hudson, Wis., just before midnight, when the trooper’s lights came on. Salter slowed down, but didn’t stop. He said he was looking for a safer place to pull over.
Instead, Trooper Carrie Rindal treated it like he was fleeing arrest, and rammed his minivan from behind. On Wednesday, the State Patrol ruled that unnecessary.
“Looking at the totality of the situation the review board felt there was not enough criteria, enough evidence indicted in the driving pattern, to indicate that the individual was in fact trying to elude Officer Rindal,” said Colonel Mark Dunaski of the Minnesota State Patrol.
“I hope the disciplinary action will keep this particular officer from doing anything like this again,” said Salter.
Salter spent two nights in jail before the fleeing charges were dropped. His three children witnessed the whole thing from the back seat of his minivan.
Salter said he’s close to a small settlement that should cover the damage to the car, but that won’t be able to fix the other scars.
“I don’t really expect to be satisfied by this process with what I had to go through,” he said. “But I do think that they came to the correct conclusion, she shouldn’t have hit my car.”
Rindal will get a letter of reprimand, the first of her career, and extra training on pursuit intervention techniques. In fact, the patrol plans to use this incident to help train all troopers in the future.