Driver in catastrophic high-speed chase has lawsuit tossed
Tribal police officer was responding to call outside reservation
A tribal police officer who engaged in a catastrophic high-speed chase that injured three young adults off the reservation did not violate federal policies for tribal law enforcement, a federal judge in South Dakota has determined.
Robert Neuenfeldt, who was the chief of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Police Department, was sued following the 2017 pursuit. Verna Bourassa, the guardian of Tahlen Bourassa, sued the federal government following the pursuit, alleging that Neuenfeldt violated Bureau of Indian Affairs policy when he chased Tahlen Bourassa in the early morning hours of June 17, 2017.
Judge Lawrence Piersol granted Neuenfeldt and the government’s motion for summary judgement in an opinion published Wednesday, finding that Neuenfeldt had discretion to engage in the pursuit because of officer safety concerns.
But separate lawsuits filed by the family of two passengers in Bourassa’s pickup remain active, and those are scheduled for trial in November.