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Women sues, says K-9 bit when deputy offered ride

Perhaps the lesson to be learned from a Roberts woman's experience is if a deputy offers you a ride, check to make sure there's no dog in the back seat.

Or maybe ride up front.

Denise Carroll, rural Roberts, has filed suit against the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department and Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance Company asking for compensation for injuries she suffered the afternoon of July 2, 2010.

According to the lawsuit, Carroll was offered a courtesy ride by a St. Croix County deputy. As she opened the back door to enter the squad car, his police dog attacked her.

The suit alleges the attack was caused by the deputy's negligence.

In a claim filed with the county, Carroll said she was traveling east on I-94, helping her daughter move, when a box of papers flew off her pickup truck near Milepost 3.

She immediately called 911 and began picking papers off the freeway while traffic was stopped.

Carroll said she had crossed to the median to collect more papers when the deputy arrived in the westbound lane.

She said the officer said he would give her a ride back to her vehicle because the eastbound traffic had begun moving again.

While the deputy took some of the papers to his squad car, Carroll collected another packet from the shoulder.

Because she didn't want to walk into the westbound lanes to get to the front passenger seat, Carroll returned to the vehicle and opened the rear driver's side door to get into the back seat.

"I heard the dog bark and the deputy yelling, 'No. No,'" said Carroll. "As I pushed on the door to try to keep the dog in, the dog pushed his way out of the vehicle and the deputy lunged out of the driver's seat."

Carroll said she was bitten and dropped to the ground with the deputy on top of the dog, trying to get the animal to stop biting.

The deputy's hand was also bitten. Both he and Carroll were treated and released at Hudson Hospital. She was given a tetanus shot and antibiotics were prescribed.

Carroll, who works as a cashier at the New Richmond Walmart, missed work that weekend. She developed an infection a couple of weeks later and again missed work.

Along with hospital, doctor and prescription bills, Carroll says she lost wages for 12 hours of work.

As required by law, Carroll presented a claim to the county before filing the civil lawsuit.

After consulting with the insurance company attorneys, he and the county's risk manager denied that first claim, said St. Croix Corporation Counsel Greg Timmerman.

He said the incident was simply a case of a deputy attempting to help people who had trouble on the freeway.

"I won't go into who I think was wrong or who I think was at fault," said Timmerman.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.