Irving, TX – Two women subjected to a roadside body cavity search in public next to interstate for throwing cigarette out the window.
When Texas state trooper, David Farrell, pulled two women over near Irving, Texas last July 2012, they presumed it would be something simple and routine. Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, 24, said the search occurred on State Highway 161 in or near Irving on the night of July 13. Although Angel, the driver, was not aware of anything that she had done wrong, she pulled her car over when she saw the troopers flashing lights and, according to the video tape in the trooper’s car, acted in a cooperative manner. They can be heard on the police video responding to the troopers inquiries that they were on a road trip to Oklahoma in a car borrowed from a boyfriend.
Farrell indicated that the driver had thrown a cigarette out of the window at some point and that is why he had pulled them over. But he subsequently decided that one or both of the women were “acting weird” and called a female state trooper to the scene to physically search the women for marijuana. The female officer, Kelley Helleson, can clearly be seen on the police video putting her hands down the front and back of each women’s pants in the search.They claim that a female trooper, Kelley Helleson, used her fingers to search their anuses and vaginas – without even changing her latex gloves between searches – while on the side of the road in full view of passing vehicles.
Women Subjected to Roadside Body Cavity Search Sue Trooper and Department of Public Safety
According to a lawsuit filed against Helleson, Angel Dobbs claims that the search irritated a prior medical disorder, an anal cyst, which now causes her “severe and continuing pain and discomfort”.
“Angel Dobbs was overwhelmed with emotion and a feeling of helplessness and reacted stating that Helleson had just violated her in a most horrific manner,” the lawsuit said.
Farrell searched their vehicle for marijuana but didn’t find any, they said. He then tried to “morph this situation into a DWI investigation,” the lawsuit said. Angel Dobbs passed a roadside sobriety test and the women were given warnings for littering, the suit said.
Victims of Roadside Search Sue Department of Public Safety Director
Two Texas Women Subjected to Road-Side Body Cavity Search for Littering
The women also are suing Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, saying he was aware of previous problems and complaints about “unlawful strip searches, cavity searches and the like” yet failed to do anything about it.
DPS spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said the department does not discuss pending litigation but issued the following statement:
“Following the traffic stop that occurred in July of this year and based on a citizen’s complaint, the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry surrounding the events, and has since turned the results over to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office for review.”
Scott H. Palmer, an attorney for the women, said the entire incident was caught on video from one of the trooper’s dash-mounted cameras.
“You can see what’s happening clearly,” he said.
Palmer said the Texas Rangers investigated his clients’ complaints but no action was taken against the troopers.
State Trooper Suspended For Roadside Search Pending Review
As of December 19, the officer being sued for a body cavity search has been suspended, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said trooper Kelley Helleson is suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office says the case is being investigated by the office’s public integrity division and will go before a grand jury in January.