A 69-year-old Lake Havasu man has filed a claim seeking more than $25,000 from the City of Costa Mesa because a police officer allegedly shoved him to the ground, broke his finger and injured his arthritic knees during a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest.
Carl Helber, who moved to the Arizona town from Costa Mesa, alleges the cop used excessive force in the claim that the city immediately rejected.
The city and police department would not comment on the claim, other than to describe the process in general and note that Helber's complaint was knocked down because the six-month filing deadline passed, reports the Daily Pilot.
That prompted Helber and his lawyer last month to file a request in Orange County Superior Court for that deadline to be extended.
This stems from a minor accident near South Coast Plaza around 11 p.m. on July 10, 2012, something Helber blamed on excessive speed. He says he conceded to an officer that he had consumed a glass of wine, which subjected him to a sobriety test.
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Helber claims he informed the officer his bad knees made it impossible to stand on one leg, but the cop "didn't care. He pushed me down on the ground at that time where my right leg curled underneath me."
The encounter forced him to have two knee-replacement surgeries, and the unidentified officer also broke one of his fingers, dislocated his thumb and injured his wrist, according to the claim that sought compensation for medical bills, lost work and $160 he says was poached from his wallet at the police station.
The Pilot notes Helber pleaded not guilty in October 2012 to misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more stemming from the encounter. He's due back in court in January. He pleaded no contest in 2010 to a misdemeanor driving with blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more.