Chesterfield denies claim made by man who was hit by their police car

Posted at 5:21 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 18:16:55-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Mark Carley's life was completely upended after he was hit by a car last year.

The person behind the wheel: a police officer.

Now, he's learning he may not be paid the money he needs for rehab to learn to walk again.

His attorney filed a claim with Chesterfield, but said they were notified last week that the county will assert sovereign immunity to deny the claim.

Due to the accident, Carley can't move around like he used to. Constant pain and the added burden of needing a wheelchair creates a daily struggle to get in and out of the tent he lives in.

According to the police report, the officer was driving 43 in a 35 mph zone with no lights on. He reportedly swerved avoid hitting two people and when he did, he hit Carley.

"Broken pelvic bone, 177 staples, a re-done knee, broken finger-- it's still that way. Concussion and a broken nose," said Carley, recalling his time in the hospital.

CBS 6 Legal Analyst Todd Stone explained sovereign immunity is a protection for governments. He said Carley's legal team faces a tough challenge because they have a higher burden to prove.

Stone said they would have to show that the officer wasn't just negligent, but that his actions were grossly negligent.

Carley said, "I really want to get out of this wheelchair more than anything. Go back to work. Hang out with my friends. Pick up my life like it was."

A GoFundMe account has been set up. It's called "Help Mark Heal and Get Off the Streets."

As for the lawsuit that was filed, once served, the county has 21 days to respond.