Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Cole was reportedly declared guiltless after an internal investigation into an incident that left 20-year-old Danielle Maudsley brain dead, reports indicate. The dash cam video from Cole’s patrol car, which caught the incident, was released last week along with the report.
In the video, Maudsley can be seen running out of the Florida Highway Patrol station, her hands handcuffed in front of her. Cole, who was right behind her, can be seen tasering her, after which she screams, spins around and falls on her back onto the pavement. She is still conscious after the fall, crying and saying she can’t get up. Maudsley reportedly lost consciousness moments afterwards and has not regained it in the nearly five months since.
During a video interview with an investigator, Cole said that he decided not to tackle Maudsley because he was so much bigger than her and because she was faster than him. Cole weighed in at 267 pounds at the time of the accident. “I know that I can’t just jump on her. I’m three times her weight. If we go down, one or both of us is going to get hurt. The taser is the immediate weapon of choice,” he said. He also so says that Maudsley was outrunning him, though she was only steps in front of him in the video.
Finally, Cole said that he was afraid that Maudsley was going to run into nearby traffic on Highway 19 and get hit by a car. Cole says that he never even considered that Maudsley might injure herself as a result of the Taser and did not warn her that he was going to use it. He said that he did not regret his actions and would do the same thing if placed in that situation again.
Maudsley was in custody on charges of fleeing the scene of two car accidents. She had a suspended license at the time of the incident and blood tests conducted after the incident revealed that she was under the influence of two drugs: oxycodone and cocaine.
Cheryl Maudsley, Danielle Maudsley’s mother, was not happy with the outcome of the investigation. It is not yet known if she plans to sue Cole. “He knows what he did to my daughter and he has to live with that every day to his death,” she told the press. “And to say he would do it again,” she says, “makes me want to puke.” Cheryl says that prognosis is not good. “My daughter is dead because of this. She won’t come back,” she said.
Cole had enjoyed a spotless record with the FHP before the incident had had even been named Trooper of the Year in 2000. However, some experts believe that he did not handle the incident properly and that the disaster could have been avoided. One expert mentioned that Maudsley’s hands were cuffed in front of her body, which is unusual, and that she was not handcuffed to anything in the station, which allowed her to escape.