Tased trucker sues PA trooper for use of excessive force

A truck driver has filed suit against a Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) trooper who allegedly used excessive force in tasing him after a close call in traffic.

On January 14, truck driver Dale Hollobaugh filed a lawsuit against PSP trooper Robert Jacobs in the United State District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

According to the complaint, the incident began shortly before 7 p.m. on June 11, 2019, as Hollobaugh was traveling on eastbound I-70 near Exit 40.

From the complaint:

As Plaintiff traveled eastbound on I-70, a black SUV which was stopped on the berm adjoining I-70, suddenly, without signal or other warning, pulled directly in front of Plaintiff’s vehicle, causing Plaintiff to slam on his brakes, and take other evasive action to avoid crashing into the SUV;The black SUV after entering I- 70, then continued eastward on I- 70 a short distance before it pulled to the side of the road at or about at the intersection of I-70 and exit ramp 40; Plaintiff, unsure as to whether his vehicle struck the black SUV, followed the black SUV. Plaintiff stopped his vehicle directly behind the black SUV at or about I-70 and the exit ramp 40

Hollobaugh says that he got out of his truck to talk to the SUV driver when Jacobs, who was on-duty and in uniform “exited suddenly, and immediately without warning
or cause, assaulted the plaintiff, striking plaintiff in the chest.”

According to the complaint, Hollobaugh had no idea that the SUV was a police vehicle or that Jacobs was a police officer until he exited the SUV.

Hollobaugh says the Jacobs ordered him to stand in front of the SUV and that as he tried to comply with the order, “Jacobs, without warning or cause, tasered plaintiff,
causing him to fall helplessly to the ground, violently striking his head, face and shoulders on the pavement.”

Hollobaugh said that after he was Tased, Jacobs placed his knee in his back while forcibly handcuffing him, causing him severe pain. Hollobaugh said that Jacobs responded to his complaints of pain by yanking him up from the ground, causing more pain to his back and shoulders.

Hollobaugh says that he received injuries to his head, face, neck, shoulders, and back that required medical treatment and may require more. The complaint also argues that Hollobaugh suffered “severe emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation” for which he received or may require medical, psychological or psychiatric attention.

The suit alleged that Jacobs falsely charged Hollobaugh with resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Hollobaugh claims that Jacobs violated his 4th Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable and excessive force. He is seeking compensatory and/or
punitive damages, and for the recovery of costs and attorney’s fees, and for such other
relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

PSP said shortly after the arrest that Hollobaugh had been driving erratically and tailgated the SUV Jacobs was in as he was conducting speed enforcement. PSP claims that when pulled over, Hollobaugh partially stopped in the active lanes of traffic and blocking an exit ramp.

“He wanted to come to the front of the vehicle, he tried to escort the individual to the front of the vehicle and the gentleman did not comply with his orders. Still flaring his arms, he actually swatted at the trooper when the trooper was trying to assist him the front of the vehicle and that led to a taser deployment,” Trooper Robert Broadwater told local outlet KDKA.

The PSP is not named in the civil suit.