Former BPD officer testifies in Harb v. City of Bakersfield civil trial

Claudia Payne claims she never sent an ambulance away from the crash scene.

A key witness in the civil case of a local doctor suing the City of Bakersfield took the stand Tuesday.

Former Bakersfield Police officer, Claudia Payne, was the first to respond to Dr. Mohamed Harb after he crashed his car in 2007. The plaintiff claims Payne turned a Hall Ambulance away thinking the doctor was drunk when he was actually suffering a career-ending stroke.

The city is counter suing Hall Ambulance, saying it is at fault, not former officer Payne.

Judge Eric Bradshaw, again, did not allow 17 News cameras to record audio of Tuesday's proceedings.

But, the heated body language between Mick Marderosian, attorney for the City of Bakersfield and James Braze, representing Hall Ambulance, was easy to translate, as Judge Bradshaw ordered Braze to sit down during the city's questioning of Claudia Payne.

When asked if Payne told others she sent an ambulance away the night of Dr. Harb's crash, she testified, "I never said to anyone I sent them away."

That contradicts testimony Monday from Registered Nurse Meghan Coffey who said, "The female officer said an ambulance came and we sent them away. He's coming with us."

The plaintiffs claim the delay of medical care to Dr. Harb during his stroke increased damage to the doctor, to the point that he now needs around the clock care.

Payne testified she called the first ambulance around 12 minutes after she arrived on scene and ran Dr. Harb's license to check for medical conditions tied to it.

After Paramedic Brian Dumont, who was in court Tuesday, checked Dr. Harb, Payne testified, "I walked up and heard him say his condition was not medically related."

When lawyers asked Payne if she was told Dr. Harb needed a medical transport, she said, "No, sir. That was never told to me."

Payne testified she called for a second ambulance around 36 minutes after being dispatched to the crash, but she did not include that in her police report.

The plaintiffs are seeking $25 million in the civil suit. The trial is expected to last a month.

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