Sheriff's Copter Created 'War Zone' Conditions After Dream Cruise, Lawsuit Claims
November 5th, 2012, 6:06 AM
An outdoor family party at the end of last summer's Woodward Dream Cruise became nightmarish when a police helicopter hovered so low it damaged vehicles and knocked down two children, according to a new lawsuit.
Terry McIninch of Pontiac is suing Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, the county itself and a deputy who flew the chopper. The Oakland Press reports.
McIninch alleges the sheriff’s helicopter hovered at a lower altitude than Federal Aviation regulations allow around 10 p.m. Aug. 18 over a lot at Woodward Avenue and Raeburn Street in Pontiac where McIninch’s family and friends were having a Dream Cruise party. He claims the helicopter’s rotor wash injured his children Jess and Alyssa and kicked up debris, damaging McIninch’s 1971 Chevrolet El Camino and his motor home.
The suit calls the department’s actions “grossly negligent” and said the helicopter’s rotor wash picked up and threw the children “like ragdolls and (caused) them great bodily and emotional harm.” . . .
A Southfield attorney, Michael Komorn, is quoted as saying: "“When you’re bringing in a helicopter in for crowd control, bring it down to 50 feet, it resembles a war zone.”
The copter reportedly was responding to two large fights around 10 p.m. after the Dream Cruise ended.
Speaking for his department, the county's undersheriff responded: "“Mr. McIninch has failed to cooperate with us. He’s made allegations that there’s damages of all kinds to his vehicle and his motor home, and he has produced nothing to us, despite our requests in writing for estimates for damages.”