Duke University VP Being Sued for Hitting Parking Attendant With Car, Allegedly Calling her the ‘N’ Word

Credit: The Chronicle
Credit: The Chronicle

Tallman Trask III, Duke University’s executive vice president, is accused of hitting a parking attendant with his car and then calling her a racial slur, The Chronicle reports.

In an event that took place in August 2014, but is currently being investigated by the Duke student newspaper, parking attendant Shelvia Underwood was directing traffic the night of a football game when Trask, who she had stopped, turned his car around and hit her, according to The Chronicle.

“My hands are on the hood, then I hit the ground,” Underwood tells the paper.

Underwood then tells the paper she got up and “shouted at Trask, ‘Really sir, really? You’re in that much of a hurry that you hit me with your car?’”

As Trask drove off, Underwood also says, he “called her a ‘dumb, dumb stupid n*****.’”

Underwood filed a campus police report and later received a written apology from Trask, the school’s principal administrative and fiscal officer.

Witnesses to the incident tell The Chronicle they saw Trask hit Underwood. However, none of the witnesses interviewed directly overheard Trask using a slur.

The newspaper also reports that both parties have hired attorneys.

In a statement from Trask sent to USA TODAY College, he said in part:

“I was stopped in the traffic circle … by a parking attendant I did not recognize, who gruffly said ‘this road is closed.’ … She stepped away, but after I started moving (maybe 5 feet) she stepped back in front of the car. I slammed on the brakes and her hand ended up on my left fender. I did not intentionally hit her. By then I was extremely frustrated and said “how many permits do I need to show you?” in a somewhat heated voice. I regret that I lost my patience and that’s what my note of apology was about.

I learned several days later that Ms. Underwood had filed a complaint and claimed I had said something else. Her allegations were separately and independently investigated by the Duke Police and the Office of Institutional Equity, both of whom interviewed all witnesses. None of them heard me saying what she claimed I said, quite simply because I didn’t say it. It is a complete fabrication.

I had assumed this was resolved more than a year ago until I received a letter last November from a Raleigh attorney threatening to sue me (not clear for what) unless I paid her an unspecified sum. I declined to do so then and do not intend to do so now.”

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SOURCE: USA Today On College –