The State Trooper Who Performed a Roadside Cavity Search on Irving Women Has Been Fired
Angel Dobbs and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, would rather forget what happened to them on July 13, 2012. That's when a state trooper pulled them over as they traveled north down George Bush Turnpike in Irving, purportedly for throwing a cigarette butt out the window.
What happened next was broadcast far and wide after the women sued the Texas Department of Public Safety last month. The trooper, David Farrell, claimed to smell marijuana and, on the grounds that the women were "acting weird," called in a second trooper, Kelly Helleson.
It didn't take long for Helleson to get down to business. She snapped on latex gloves, positioned Angel Dobbs in front of the spotlights from Farrell's cruiser and, in full view of passing motorists, performed a quick but thorough -- not to mention painful -- cavity search. Helleson did the same to the niece before determining that the women had not, in fact, concealed controlled substances within their anatomy.
After the lawsuit was filed, and after the dash-cam video went viral, DPS suspended both Farrell and Helleson pending the outcome of an investigation into their conduct.
That investigation is now apparently complete. DPS spokesman Tom Vinger sent word yesterday: "The Director of DPS has made a preliminary determination to terminate Kelly Helleson," he wrote in an email Tuesday evening. "By policy, she will be given the opportunity to meet with the Director before the decision is finalized."
No word on what will happen to Farrell, which presumably means his job is safe. No word, either, on whether Dallas County will press criminal charges, as was being considered. We've emailed DA spokeswoman Debbie Denmon to check. Updates when we hear back.
Update at 10:01 a.m.: Denmon's response: "Our office is still investigating and we have no Grand Jury date set at this time."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.
- That's It Then: The Cowboys 2015 Season Gets Put Out of Its Misery
- The Cowboys' 5 Biggest Thanksgiving Turkeys
- Live From London: Your Holiday Weekend Weather Apocaforecast