High-Speed Chase Ends in Tragedy and a Lawsuit

Dash-cam video shows the moment an officer fatally shot unarmed woman.

ByABC News
April 25, 2014, 7:38 AM

April 25, 2014— -- A Texas family has filed a lawsuit against local police, claiming excessive force and wrongful death in the October 2013 shooting death of a woman who led police on a high speed chase.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday on behalf of Amy Reyna's family.

Reyna, 35, led police on a 20-mile chase, crossing state lines and hitting speeds of 100 miles per hour, a pursuit captured on dash-cam video. Reyna was wanted for probation violations, including burglary. Denver City, Texas officers followed her into New Mexico. She eventually drove into a farm field, her tires blown out, where the vehicle came to a stop.

Officers ordered her to put her hands up, but dash-cam video obtained by ABC affiliate KAMC shows Officer Ryan Taylor drawing his gun and firing into the engine. Moments later, he fired again, this time through the windshield, hitting Reyna.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy found methamphetamines in her system.

Taylor told investigators he thought Reyna had a gun.

“I fired, and it’s like she’s still reaching for something, she’s grabbing for something, and that’s when I fired that last round,” Taylor said in his deposition.

An investigation determined Reyna was not armed, and Taylor also told investigators he did not have a clear view into her car when he fired. Taylor remains on the job, but could face charges in the future.

Joseph Zebas, a lawyer representing the Reyna family, said the video of the shooting does not match Taylor’s statement.

“If Officer Taylor clearly had a fear for his safety, he would have taken cover,” Zebas said.

A lawyer for Taylor released a statement to ABC News, saying “Ryan protected himself and the other officers in the situation and was not responsible for the events that occurred. Amy Reyna was.”

Retired FBI executive Thomas Parker said the dash-cam video is important in understanding the day that Reyna died.

“That is just a kind of a snapshot of what was happening. In this case, you’ll have to rely on the videotape and what the officer that were there have to say,” Parker said.