BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A local man says he’ll never walk again after a chase gone wrong. He says a Bakersfield police officer rammed him with a 5,000 pound patrol car after a pursuit smashing his legs. Now he’s suing the city of Bakersfield and several officers for excessive use of force. The chase, impact and arrest all caught on camera.
A 35-year-old mechanic and rodeo performer, Jeffrey Dibbern says his life changed forever on Dec. 30, 2021. Newly released body camera video shows a police officer crashing in South Bakersfield after a pursuit, deploying his airbag.
Dibbern says it all started when he performed mechanical work on a truck, and a client didn’t pay. So he reportedly tried to repossess the vehicle without filing documents in court. Police pulled him over on suspicion of driving a stolen car. That’s when court documents say Dibbern sped off, leading police on a chase through Southwest Bakersfield for about ten minutes.
17 News spoke to police that day.
“The driver put the vehicle in reverse appearing in an attempt to strike officers,” said Sgt. Robert Pair of the Bakersfield Police Dept. “He did strike a patrol vehicle.”
Video shows the moments after Dibbern pulled over near the Arco Gas Station on Wible Road near White Lane, and tried to run away.
“Officer Kidwell of the Bakersfield Police Dept. drove his patrol car into me, over that divider, crushing my legs,” said Dibbern.
Dibbern says he pulled himself over the wall after the impact. Video shows officers placing Dibbern under arrest as the 35-year-old screams. He says he tried to surrender peacefully.
“Three fellow officers of the Bakersfield Police Dept. commenced trying to beat me to death using knees, elbows and fists as I was hogtied in handcuffs to my severed legs to my hands screaming bloody murder for them to stop.”
Dibbern says he spent two months at Kern Medical with major injuries to his legs.
“ER nurses and trauma doctors at KMC took me into their possession and saved my life,” said Dibbern. “The Bakersfield Police Dept. has stripped me of my ability to provide for my family, and bound me to this wheelchair. I have a daughter. I’ll never be able to walk her down the aisle.”
Superior Court records show Dibbern was arrested in February, after he was discharged from the hospital.
He pled no contest to charges of recklessly evading police officers, and obstructing justice, serving 42 days in jail.
“I made a mistake that changed my life indefinitely,” said Dibbern.
An Oakland-based law filed a claim on Dibbern’s behalf Tuesday against the city of Bakersfield and six officers involved. Documents list a slew of allegations, ranging from negligence to excessive use of force. This is the first step towards a lawsuit.
“There has to be a price they have to pay,” said attorney DeWitt Lacy. “There are going to be tremendous medical bills, obviously, that Jeff is also going to have to deal with. But also his extended family now has to shoulder the burden of taking care of him.”
17 News reached out to the Bakersfield Police Department, and they referred us to the Bakersfield City Attorney’s office. The city attorney’s office declined to comment for this story.