Trooper fired for shooting at fleeing driver

Trooper fired for shooting at fleeing driver
This April 9, 2012 file photo shows the car that ran over the trooper's foot after the driver lost control and crashed.
SEATTLE -- The Washington State Patrol has fired a trooper who shot at a fleeing car after the driver ran over his foot.

State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins said the department felt Trooper Jeff Laeuger's decision to use deadly force during the April 9, 2012 traffic stop was unjustified.

Laeuger had stopped a car that was illegally in the HOV lane on Interstate 405, but when Laeuger approached the car, the driver sped off, running over the Laeuger's foot.

Laeuger shot at the car fleeing car, but did not hit the driver.

"A car can be used as a weapon, and if it's coming at a police officer that's certainly a situation where it would be justified," Calkins said. "But it's very hard to justify when the vehicle is moving away from the involved officer."

The driver sped off but was arrested after crashing a short distance from the shooting scene.

Calkins said Laeuger's decision to shoot was "so far out of policy that we're not comfortable putting someone back on the street who would use deadly force inappropriately."