WHEELING — On March 31, 2015, Perry Galloway Jr. was traveling home to Wheeling after visiting his fiancée in Columbus when Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper Stephen Roe pulled him over on Interstate 70 in Guernsey County for a sudden lane change.
During the traffic stop, which is documented in its entirety from Roe’s dashcam video, Galloway informed the trooper he was not feeling well. Roe insisted Galloway was in possession of illegal drugs, and called for back-up to help him search the vehicle.
Galloway, who informed troopers he was diabetic and had heart stents in place, was put in the back of Roe’s cruiser while Roe and troopers Scott W. Bayless and Gregory A. Mamula searched his vehicle. About two hours later, Galloway had a seizure while still in the back of the cruiser and died shortly thereafter.
Those details and others are outlined in a federal lawsuit filed earlier this month by Galloway’s family against Roe, Bayless and Mamula in federal court in Columbus. The family alleges the troopers failed to provide proper care for Galloway during a medical emergency.
Galloway was a former president of the Wheeling NAACP who spent much of his adult life working for the betterment of the Wheeling area.
According to police records, Roe said Galloway provided his brother’s name rather than his own when stopped that day and that there was a warrant for him on file from Belmont County.
Wheeling attorney Jeffrey Grove, who is representing the Galloway family, said when Roe stopped Galloway’s vehicle, the trooper insisted Galloway was in possession of illegal drugs. Despite Galloway’s insistence he did not have illegal drugs and that he was not feeling well, Grove said officers placed Galloway in the cruiser while using a drug dog to search his vehicle.
Grove said he believes Galloway was confused when being questioned and the dash video shows he had slurred speech.
Galloway told troopers he was a diabetic and had heart stents in place. They asked him if he was OK or if he needed a snack. They allowed him to have his bag that contained his medication. Galloway reportedly administered insulin and nitro glycerin tablets while in the cruiser. A short time later, Roe opened the cruiser door and asked Galloway if he was feeling better. Galloway responded: “Yes, lots better.”
However, Grove said Galloway was in the back of the cruiser for several more minutes when he began to suffer a seizure. He said when troopers turned their attention back to the cruiser, Galloway was sweating and complaining of pain. The video shows Bayless approaching the cruiser, saying, “We’ll get you a squad and then you go to jail after you have the squad, but you’re not going to get out of that, OK?” he said.
“Perry, we have a warrant for your arrest out of Belmont County,” Roe said. It was for failure to appear in a traffic case.
Galloway then appeared to be unconscious. Officers removed him from the cruiser, placed him on the ground and called an ambulance. Roe is shown tapping Galloway on the face and saying, “Perry. C’mon buddy, don’t do this” when he was on the ground and unresponsive.
When medical personnel arrived on the scene, Roe told them Galloway may have ingested illegal drugs. The ambulance arrived at 12:04 p.m. and left 10 minutes later for the Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center in Cambridge, where Galloway was pronounced dead at 12:27 p.m.
Grove said troopers are trained in CPR and other basic first aid, yet they did not render any physical assistance to Galloway. “When you watch the video and see the failure of those officers to provide any aid to Perry, it’s totally unacceptable,” Grove said. “They did not find any illegal drugs in his car or in his system after the autopsy. They were so wrapped up in finding drugs that they failed to pay attention to Perry when he needed medical attention.”
Grove said Galloway’s children were extremely angry after viewing the video and wanted to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else.
Some family members still cannot bring themselves to view the video. Galloway’s daughter, Chaundraya Goodwin, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family.
The Ohio Attorney General’s office said it had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and had no comment.