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Woman suing WSP after mistakenly being stopped for DUI during stroke

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — The attorney representing a Thurston County woman says she was suffering from a brain bleed when she was mistakenly arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Nicole McClure, 40, is now suing the Thurston County, Thurston County Jail and Washington State Patrol for negligence.

According to the complaint, Trooper Jonathan Barnes attempted to pull over McClure on March 21, 2022 because she was driving “at a noticeably slow rate of speed”. He approached her car with lights and sirens, but she continued driving slowly.

Trooper Barnes called for backup. When McClure collided into a roundabout, dashcam footage showed the Trooper rush to her car with a gun in hand.

“Get out of the car! Get out of the car! Get out of the car now,” exclaimed Barnes. “Turn around, you’re under arrest!”

At the time, the trooper believed she was driving under the influence.

McClure’s attorney, Matt Dubin, tells KIRO 7 that wasn’t the case.

“She wasn’t feeling well. She was dizzy and confused and had a headache. So she left work early, and she was driving home,” said Dubin of Dubin Law Group.

The DUI arrest report shows troopers ‘did not ask’ the sobriety questions. After being involved in a collision, the complaint alleges McClure did not receive any medical evaluation.

She was reportedly sent to Capital Medical Center to get her blood drawn, but still no medical evaluation.

“There was no alcohol in her system. There were no drugs in her system. She was confused because she was having a stroke,” said Dubin.

In the video, Trooper Barnes repeatedly asks her to drop her keys then the situation grew tense.

“Stop resisting! She’s trying to use these keys to stab. She’s trying to use these keys as a weapon,” said the trooper.

Within seconds, two other officers arrived and were able to de-escalate the situation.

Dubin says because of McClure’s health emergency, she was unable to comply.

“It was a right sided frontal lobe brain bleed and with the brain it’s it affects the opposite side of the body,” Dubin explained. “She literally couldn’t release her left hand.”

McClure was taken to Thurston County jail. The complaint alleging, she was “ignored while she progressed through the stages of brain bleed and swelling.”

“They threw her in a jail cell where she lay on the floor with progressively diminishing brain function for 24 hours, no attention, no care,” Dubin explained.

After being in the jail with no help, Dubin says McClure was found in a puddle of her own urine unable to stand by herself.

When the jail medical team arrived, she was taken to the hospital. It’s where her Dubin say she was diagnosed with a brain bleed.

“If they had caught this and begun medical intervention earlier, it’s likely the outcome would have been less severe,”

Dubin says part of her skull had to be removed to relieve pressure from her brain.

“Instead of protecting and serving, the State Patrol created a situation that led to a life of diminished capacity and diminished life. And she didn’t deserve that.”

KIRO 7 reached out to Washington State Patrol and the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for a response to the allegations, but they do not comment on pending litigation.