LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A lawsuit filed in New Mexico federal court on Thursday named Saline County officials as defendants in a January 2022 death.
Named in the lawsuit alongside the county are Sheriff Rodney Wright, seven members of the sheriff’s department ranked deputy through captain, county coroner Kevin Cleghorn and deputy coroner R. Allyn West. The 42-page suit claims the group was responsible for the death of 38-year-old Daniel Barajas and violated his civil rights.
Arkansas State Police records show Barajas died after stepping in front of a car near the 106-mile marker on I-30 at 6 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2022. After being hit by the car he was then hit by a truck and a second car while lying on the highway.
The deadly accident summary shows Barajas as a resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico, but the lawsuit states he was a resident of Kentucky at the time of his death. It continues to state that on the day Barajas was killed he was driving west from Kentucky to Dallas to visit two family members when he interacted with deputies during an early morning traffic stop.
Barajas died shortly after the traffic stop, according to the lawsuit.
The suit was announced at a news conference by The League of United Latin American Citizens.
The plaintiff in the suit names Barajas’ mother Maria Elena Barajas as the representative of the man’s estate. The suit seeks damages, attorney fees and any other relief the court finds proper.
Saline County communications director Trevor Villines said county officials do not have a comment at this time.