A deputy who reportedly T-boned a sober woman’s car in February 2013 broke the woman’s neck in four places. Another deputy then allegedly went on to falsely accuse the woman of drunk driving, thereby placing all blame for the accident on her.
Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Quiles was working the night shift on patrol at General Mitchell International Airport on the night of Feb. 20, 2013 when he slammed into Tanya Weyker’s car.
In his official report, according to Fox 6 Now, Quiles stated that he had stopped at the stoplight and looked both ways before pulling out onto Howell Avenue.
Footage from an airport camera, however, reveals that Quiles did not, in fact, come to a complete stop; he rolled through the stop sign. His car then slammed into Weyker’s, which was sent spinning into a tree.
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“It was a miracle I wasn’t paralyzed,” recalls Weyker, whose spine has been fused with steel since childhood, when it suffered lasting damage from chemotherapy treatment.
As rescue workers arrived and tended to the injured woman, they asked her if she had been drinking or taking any drugs; Weyker replied that she had sips of a friend’s drink, and that a week had passed since she had been taking painkillers for a dental procedure.
Weyker was hurt so badly that she was unable to blow into a breathalyzer or perform field sobriety tests.
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Noting, however, that there was a faint odor of alcohol on her breath, a deputy arrested Weyker on five separate charges, including drunk driving causing injury.
“They made me into this criminal,” Weyker said.
Weyker’s lawyer, Todd Korb, says that there was virtually no evidence that Weyker was drunk.
“I can’t say it was necessarily a cover-up, but it is suspicious,” Korb said.
Although the Sheriff’s Office knew of the video on which the crash was recorded – and on which Quiles’ version of incidents was definitively disproven – only two days after the incident, Weyker was never told about the video.
Instead, the county repeatedly sent her letters threatening legal action if she didn’t pay for the damage incurred by the accident.
Test results obtained in the months after the accident proved that Weyker had neither drugs nor alcohol in her system. Although the results should have immediately dispelled the drunk driving accusations against Weyker, another five months passed before the case made it to a prosecutor, who ultimately declined to press charges against Weyker.
It wasn’t until 10 months after the crash that Quiles was interviewed in an internal investigation. After he was told that a video of the incident existed, he admitted that he rolled through the stop sign and assumed fault for the incident.
Quiles was officially suspended for a mere nine days for violating traffic laws and damaging County equipment. He was never disciplined for his inaccurate report. And, although he sustained only minor injuries from the accident – which he caused – he has not worked in more than a year, and has now filed for permanent duty disability.
Weyker, for her part, is still waiting for the county to pay her medical bills, which her lawyer says could total over a million dollars. State law, however, caps claims against government agencies at $250,000.
“I knew I was innocent this whole time,” said Weyker, who has also filed a separate complaint against the deputy who arrested her.