A Fawn Township man suing four state police troopers alleges they unnecessarily beat and tased him repeatedly while arresting him after a lengthy high-speed vehicle chase.
"I thought they were going to kill me," said Stephen C. Bowen III. "I was defenseless -- I was handcuffed. It was brutal."
Bowen, 35, is currently serving a 6-1/2- to 15-year sentence for the Feb. 28, 2010, chase and is being held at SCI Rockview in Centre County.
His civil lawsuit, filed in Harrisburg's federal court, states Bowen suffered numerous injuries, including multiple broken bones in his eye sockets, a crushed nose, the loss of several teeth and bruises all over his body.
"They stomped on my face with their feet," and beat his face with their batons, Bowen alleges.
"They had the audacity to high-five each other as I laid in a pile of blood on the street," he said.
The chase: State police from the Loganville barracks were chasing Bowen because he allegedly committed road-rage toward a female driver on Interstate 83 in southern York County, according to court records.
The chase lasted 30 to 40 minutes, much of it in Maryland, and ended on New Park Road near the Route 851 intersection in Fawn Township, police said.
In April 2011, a York County jury acquitted Bowen of resisting arrest and two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer. A third aggravated assault charge on an officer was dismissed at his March 2010 preliminary hearing.
A jury found Bowen guilty of fleeing from police. He then pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and several traffic offenses. A blood test showed he had morphine, cocaine and methadone in his system, police said.
Hands up? Bowen said after he stopped his vehicle he surrendered and put up his hands as ordered, but troopers assaulted him anyway.
The lawsuit identifies them as Cpl. Alan Trees, Cpl. Brian Torkar, Trooper Jonathan Burnham and former trooper Reginald Roberson, who is now a corrections officer at the state prison in Pittsburgh.
State police spokesman Sgt. Anthony Manetta said he's not at liberty to comment on pending litigation.
All four are being represented by Keli Neary of the state attorney general's office, who declined comment.
'Acted reasonably': But in a court filing, she stated the troopers "acted reasonably and prudently in order to protect the safety of the public and themselves."
Two of the troopers -- Burnham and Trees -- testified against Bowen at his preliminary hearing.
Burnham said Bowen refused to raise his hands and was shocked once with a Taser. (The lawsuit states he was tased repeatedly.)
Burnham also testified "significant force" had to be used to arrest Bowen, who was lying on the ground with his hands tucked under him, "flopping around like a fish."
Ambulance called: Trees testified that when he arrived at the scene Bowen was handcuffed and lying on the ground. Trees said he called for an ambulance, then approached Bowen.
"He ... kicked me in the side of my face and knocked my glasses off," Trees testified.
Philadelphia attorney Andrew Erba, who represents Bowen in the civil case, said police are protected by "qualified immunity," meaning a jury must find they acted unreasonably for Bowen to prevail in his lawsuit.
Bowen said he has no intention of accepting a settlement, even if one is offered.
Wants trial: "I don't care what they offer me, I'm going to take it to trial," he said. "People need to know about this stuff."
Bowen is seeking unspecified general and compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and attorney fees. Trial has tentatively been set for February 2013, according to court records.
Bowen has a lengthy criminal record that includes offenses of fleeing police, escape, assaulting an officer, theft and simple drug possession, according to Pennsylvania and Maryland court records.
-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-5429 or twitter.com/ydcrimetime.