NHP Carjacking Victim Files Lawsuit And Seeks $1M in Damages

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Updated: 3/05/2013 6:18 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) --Fernley resident Marie Coates filed a lawsuit today in Washoe County District Court accusing Trooper Robert Nivarel, the State of Nevada and the Department of Public Safety of negligence and is seeking more than $1 million in damages.

According to the court papers, Coates says that she stopped behind a red vehicle, immediately behind a Nevada Highway Patrol truck on January 28 and saw an unknown man, not in uniform, exit the truck and approach her vehicle. That's when the man aimed what appeared to be a 8" barreled shotgun directly into Coates face and stated "Get out of the car! I am not kidding. Get out of the car." The man then fired the gun in the air above the vehicle and pointed the shotgun back in Coates face.

Coates states in the court documents that she grabbed her purse and exited the vehicle in a state of panic. Coates said to the man "don't hurt my car," and the man got into the vehicle and sped away.

The court documents say that several minutes went by before Coates saw a single law enforcement vehicle, and eventually when she was driven to her vehicle after numerous hours later due to interviews with authorities, the vehicle ended up severely damaged near the first exit in Fernley. As Coates was escorted to her vehicle to acquire her belongings, she states that a law enforcement officer uncovered the deceased body of the man, and seeing the dead man's hair and body caused Coates "extreme emotional distress", as she realized she was the last person to have talked to and have direct eye contact with the deceased man.

The lawsuit states that the actions of State of Nevada, Trooper Nivarel and the Department of Public Safety were "willful, wanton and exhibited a reckless disregard for the safety of citizens and Coates in this action."

Coates is being represented by Reno-based attorney Ken McKenna.


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thumper54 - 3/7/2013 2:54 PM
0 Votes
I do know you, Ms Coates. People would be interested to know that this is not the first time you have financially benefited from a situation which you needed someone else to blame. Kudos to all of you who have written comments about Ms Coates & Mr McKenna. Unfortunately they will fall on deaf ears because these kinds of people think that they are "entitled" to what they DO NOT deserve. Thank you Nevada Highway Patrol and all Law Enforcement Agencies who put their lives on the line daily. This is disgusting and the parties involved should be ashamed but unfortunately they won't be.

LASD1096 - 3/6/2013 7:28 PM
2 Votes
Just a few thoughts, first, worried about her hiring that scab Mckenna, he gets 66% no matter what. He does not deserve this. Second, the story here is changing (read below). The day of the incident and right after, Marie said dead guy shot up into the air, she did not say she was "staring down the barrel of the gun". Don't get me wrong, I do feel badly for her, it was traumatic but.. better ways to handle this. Utilize the State of Nevada Risk management for the money issue and, ask the NHP to allow you to attend the Critical Incident Review. Everyone sits down together and reviews the whole incident. It is amazing how much better you feel after participating in one. Marie, the night this happened, you felt sorry for this man. He ENDANGERED you, he did not care abut you. The NHP was not at fault here, this was a group of lowlife drug dealers hauling their trash through our state and they got caught. One was just not man enough to take his lumps for his wrongdoing. These lowlifes ENDANGERED our whole community, everyone on the freeway, including our law enforcement, and everyone in the housing bordering the freeway where he decided to blow his head off. You felt sorry for him then, now you are forever traumatized, can't sleep, can't forget?? Get some coundeling, lose your scab attorney and handle this like a big girl. And thank god that NHP had your back. They deserve a thank you.

thebuckster - 3/6/2013 2:15 PM
1 Vote
Not sure who lacks more integrity here, Ms. Coates or the idiot ambulance- chasing attorney Mckenna? Does anyone have any respect for either one of these people? The only respect ambulance-chasing attorney McKenna gets is from who he sees in the mirror. Thanks to Trp. Nivarel, NHP, and the Dept of Public Safety for what you do for the people of this state.

Ninjabetic86 - 3/6/2013 1:29 PM
1 Vote
Do you realize how ignorant you sound "victim?" Holy crap, a million dollars isn't going to open anyone's eyes, and open them to what?!? You have to relive that nightmare and you can't Sleep? My oh my, how about that trooper who has probably dealt with looking down a gun barrel or two, and does he sue the bad guy, no! He gets up and goes to work the next day. You're not a victim, don't call yourself that, your an embarrassment and should be ashamed of yourself. And yes, I will judge you even though I don't know you, just based on your comment defending yourself I know enough about you. I hope your lawsuit fails, and I sincerely hope you apologies publicly to the trooper and his family for your obscene lawsuit against him. How dare you...

Victim - 3/6/2013 12:44 PM
0 Votes
Just FYI folks....yes, I guess if he'd shot my head off it would be different, huh? But he didn't and now I have to live the rest of my life looking down the barrel of that shotgun. Who would have traded places with me? You? Ha. The $$ doesn't mean anything to me except maybe getting the right people to open their eyes to this kind of preventable danger. I don't take advantage of anyone or anything. I've always supported the police and troopers...you don't know me or anything about me and you sure didn't experience what I did on Jan 28th. Please note the dates...it took over a month for people to convince me to do this...(not a week)...it wasn't even my idea but now that it's done, I'm glad I'm doing it. I will never be the same..can't sleep without reliving it, can't eat, I cry all the time, I'm a nervous wreck, can't focus to do the things I've always done...I no longer have a decent quality of life. Actually, I pretty much don't have a life at all anymore and my future doesn't look too promising either. You don't have to be physically hurt to be scarred for life. Don't judge me if you haven't had the experience and you don't even know me. I'm sorry you feel the shallow, materialistic way you do. I feel sorry for you and I hope something like this never happens to you.

Nevada14 - 3/6/2013 8:37 AM
0 Votes
Sandra, are you just ignorant? Justice was served by ONLY 1 Person being killed (the one who put the general public in danger) pretty brave to steal a law enforcement vehicle. This situation could have been ALOT worse. Ms. Coates suing the state for $1m is not for justice. It is for taking advantage of the system during tough economic times. Had she been shot, hurt, or otherwise, I could understand. However, she should be lucky to have not been injured physically....oh, and by the way, who do you think will be actually paying the $1m?? You and I! That's if you are a taxpayer! Stop being naive!

Sandra - 3/6/2013 7:04 AM
0 Votes
PLEASE Nevada14 WHO do you WORK 4? People usually SUE people FOR justice FOR being WRONGED they someway FEEL victimised AND WHAT BETTER WAY TOO seek justice where it " HURTs the most " the $$$ pocket book $$ ALSO this type of retaliation MAY MAKE people in power positions to NOT THINK THEY ARE ABOVE the LAW.

Ninjabetic86 - 3/6/2013 6:53 AM
0 Votes
Well said Nevada14...how about we celebrate these officers and troopers for proactively patrolling our highways and catching these criminals in the first place. And instead of suing the department and the Trooper (because your an idiot) why don't you look for a way to support and better fund the department, so there are more officers and troopers on the highways to help reduce the opportunity of something like this from happening again. Marie Coates = failure

Nevada14 - 3/6/2013 6:11 AM
0 Votes
Really?!!!! Always someone out there trying to sue someone.... $1 Million?? Get a life out there in Ferntucky... I did sympathize with your situation until I read this.. You and Ken McKenna should be embarrassed!! Sack up and stop trying to take advantage of the system...
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