Fales v. County of StantonAnnotate this Case
A passenger who threw beer out of the window of a vehicle fleeing from law enforcement was not an innocent third party.
Dillon Fales and Bryant Irish - both minors - had consumed beer at a party and then left in a pickup truck, which Irish drove. When a law enforcement officer activated his emergency lights in an attempt to initiate a traffic stop, Irish accelerated the pickup. Fales then threw an unopened thirty-pack box of beer out of the window. The pickup eventually left the roadway and crashed, leaving Fales paralyzed from the chest down. False sued the County of Staton, alleging that he was an innocent third party and that the County was strictly liable to him by operation of Neb. Rev. Stat. 13-911. The district court entered judgment in favor of the County, concluding that False failed to sustain his burden to prove that he qualified as an innocent third party. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that when Fales threw the box of beer out of the window of Irish’s fleeing pickup, False became a subject of the pursuit, thereby disqualifying him as an innocent third party.