Roadside Cavity Search Lawsuit Settled for $185,000

Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece Ashley Dobbs, 24, were stopped for littering by State Trooper David Farrell.

By Frank Heinz
|  Thursday, Jun 27, 2013  |  Updated 8:08 AM PDT
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Texas Women Settle for $185K Over Roadside Cavity Searches

Two Irving women who sued the Texas Department of Public Safety after being subjected to a roadside cavity search have settled their lawsuit.

Charles Soechting, the attorney for both women, told NBC 5 Wednesday that his clients have settled for $185,000.

On July 13, while driving along state Highway 161, Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece Ashley Dobbs, 24, were stopped for littering by State Trooper David Farrell.

In the dashcam video released by the women and their attorney, Farrell can be heard telling the women they would both be cited for littering for throwing cigarette butts out of the car.

Farrell then returned to his cruiser and, in the video, can be heard calling female Trooper Kelley Helleson to the scene to search both women, whom he said were acting weird.

While waiting for Helleson to arrive, Farrell asked Angel Dobbs to step out of the vehicle and began questioning her about marijuana use. In the video, the trooper is heard telling Dobbs he smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle while asking her several times how much pot was in the car.

After Helleson arrived, she can be seen in the dashcam video putting on blue latex gloves to conduct a search of both women. According to the lawsuit, when Angel Dobbs asked about the gloves, Helleson "told her not to worry about that."

In the lawsuit, Dobbs said the trooper conducted the cavity search on the roadside, illuminated by the police car's headlights, in full view of any passing motorists. The lawsuit further alleged that Helleson performed searches on both women, touching both their anus and vaginas, without changing the latex gloves between searches.

After the story was published, the Department of Public Safety terminated Helleson and she was later indicted on two counts of sexual assault and two counts of official oppression.

Trooper Farrell remains suspended with pay and has been indicted on a theft charge, according to the DPS.

After searching the entire car and finding no narcotics, Farrell then administered a DWI test that Dobbs passed, the lawsuit said. The women were then issued warnings for littering and released at the scene.

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