A case against the State of New York was filed by the administrators of Tonya M. Hilliker’s estate. The claim was that two New York State troopers acted with “reckless disregard” in pursuing another vehicle. They allege that Ms. Hilliker of The Bronx died because of that recklessness. The car that they were chasing hit other vehicles. This happened on April 19, 2003 at approximately 2:30 A.M. in the City of Glens Falls.
In the evidence presented, it showed that Trooper Matthew Gilbert of Westchester was being closely followed by a white car. In the vehicle with him was Trooper Kevin Bouyea, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. The white car turned left from Main Street to South Western Avenue. The troopers continued to travel the main street and turned left onto Luzerne Road to see why the other vehicle was following them. A Lawyer mentioned that it was the time that the troopers noticed the white car heading straight toward them. It was going the opposite way on a one-way street. Trooper Gilbert avoided getting hit by pulling the patrol car on the side of the road. The white car passed them. In pursuit of the other vehicle, Trooper Gilbert made a U-turn and activated their emergency lights. The white car did not immediately turn on Broad Street. What the troopers did was to activate their siren. There was no evidence of traffic on Broad Street at the time of pursuit.
While on Broad Street, the speed of the white car was at 80-85 miles per hour, and the troopers were at 70 miles per hour when they were trying to get the plate numbers. They said that they slowed to about 50 miles per hour after getting the license plate as they were concerned about the safety if they continued that kind of chase. They lost sight of the vehicle for a few seconds after it turned at South Street. When they saw it again it was going into a bouncing stop. They exited their vehicle with guns drawn, said a Lawyer. At the scene Timothy Culligan said he was talking to Ms. Hilliker and Walter LaBarge. He was inside his car while the two were standing outside. This was when his car was struck by the white car. In the reconstruct, it was determined that the white vehicle was driving at least 82 miles per hour. For all the witnesses, they said that after the crash the police officers were immediately there about 10 feet away from the white car. This is contrary to the evidence of the lack of contact from the trooper’s vehicle, and that lack of skid marks made by the trooper’s car. Although, when the statement of Trooper Gilbert and Trooper Bouyea were compared there was a difference. A reporter got information that, Trooper Bouyea said he saw the white car hit other vehicles, which meant that they would have been near enough. There is also the undeniable knowledge of both troopers knew at that time, there are a lot of people in that area.