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Salem police officer sues Mass. driver for injuries suffered on job

BRENTWOOD — A Salem police officer who said he was dragged by a vehicle during an incident at Canobie Lake Park three years ago is suing the Massachusetts driver.

David Hyatt filed suit against William Manning in Rockingham County Superior Court on Aug. 9 seeking unspecified damages. Hyatt said that his left hand and wrist became caught in the door of Manning's Honda Odyssey minivan while Hyatt was directing traffic at the Salem amusement park Aug. 14, 2010.

According to the suit, Hyatt, a part-time officer, was directing heavy traffic at the park's North Policy Street entrance when Manning drove into the park.

"Mr. Manning turned his vehicle around, drove up to Officer Hyatt and proceeded to confront him with respect to his traffic directing skills. As the Manning vehicle proceeded toward and stopped in front of Officer Hyatt, both defendant Manning and his wife swore profusely at Officer Hyatt," the suit said.

Hyatt became concerned about the couple's "angry and erratic behavior" and was about to ask for identification when the minivan started to move, the suit said.

As the vehicle moved, the suit said Hyatt asked for him to stop, but Manning swore at him and "accelerated away."

As Manning drove off, Hyatt's left hand and wrist were caught in the minivan's door, according to the lawsuit. Hyatt ran alongside Manning's vehicle for approximately 50 feet until his hand and wrist became free.

The three-count suit accuses Manning of negligence and "intentional, reckless, willful, oppressive, wanton and/or malicious conduct."

As a result of the incident, the suit said Hyatt suffered an acute shoulder strain with acute partial tear of his rotator cuff and acute impingement syndrome; an acute left thumb and wrist strain; left wrist tendinitis; and post traumatic degenerative joint disease of the carpal/metacarpal joint.

Manning was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of disobeying a police officer last November and was given a six-month suspended jail sentence.

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