BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (WLBT) - Brookhaven Officer Bobby Hathorn’s voice was at times calm, at times hysterical, but urgent throughout about three minutes of radio traffic.
His daughter Vivian, 9 months pregnant, was behind the wheel of a runaway vehicle.
“15 to any unit: I’ve got a… my daughter’s in a vehicle that won’t stop. She’s hitting on brakes, she’s going past the PD right now. She is hysterical,” he says in the first transmission of the conversation.
Immediately, Officer Lisa Jackson chimed in. “In front of the PD?”
It went from there. Hathorn updating the other officers as he kept Vivian on the phone, telling him where she was and how fast she was going.
Jackson can be heard at least four times throughout the traffic telling him to tell his daughter to turn off the ignition.
In the vehicle, Vivian was terrified. She said she pulled the emergency brake and had both feet on the brake pedal. The Yukon Denali still wouldn’t stop.
“I’m shaking and I’m like, ‘Dad, I’m about to die, my accelerator is stuck and I don’t know what to do, what do I do?’” Vivian Hathorn said. “And as the truck got faster and faster, I just started asking, ‘Daddy, should I jump out, should I jump out?’”
The vehicle had just been in for work on the accelerator, Hathorn said.
On the radio traffic, Bobby Hathorn’s voice comes through raised to such a level he’s almost unintelligible, saying what sounds like, “Oh no, she’s going to jump out of the (expletive) vehicle!”
He then gained a little composure and said again, “Someone please, she’s talking about jumping out of the vehicle.”
Jackson said she’s behind her, and a few transmissions later, read out her license plate.
Another officer asks what’s going on, and another officer can be heard saying, “B15′s daughter in the vehicle, and the vehicle wouldn’t stop.”
Jackson again told Bobby Hathorn to tell Vivian to turn off the ignition. Vivian’s vehicle begins to slow down, and she was able to guide it into 51 Pawn and Gun on Highway 51.
“Me running redlights and driving in lanes where I’m not supposed to be driving, and not running anyone off the road, and just making it, and for the truck to stop accelerating on its own with me not doing anything, that was nobody but God,” Vivian said. “People ask me how did I get the truck stopped and I just tell them God because I really don’t know.”
But as she stopped to breathe, she looked in the rearview mirror and saw Jackson approaching with her gun drawn.
Witnesses said Jackson told Vivian Hathorn to open the door multiple times, and that Hathorn didn’t immediately respond.
“I’m in my vehicle confused now, wondering why there’s a gun pointed at me when I initially called for help,” she said, adding that Jackson allegedly took her out of the vehicle by her arm and put her on the ground on her belly, 37 weeks pregnant. She was then handcuffed.
She said she told Jackson she was pregnant, and Jackson looked at her stomach and continued to pull her from the vehicle.
Chief Kenny Collins says Jackson didn’t know Vivian Hathorn was Bobby Hathorn’s daughter, nor did she know that it wasn’t a pursuit.
“He did not say daughter one time,” Collins said. “It did not come over our air.”
Radio traffic is recorded and held at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department for at least a month. WLBT received the recording through a public records request for traffic off Brookhaven’s radio channel on that day.
Collins said that neither Hathorn’s transmission identifying the driver as his daughter, nor the other officer’s, had come through Brookhaven radio channels.
It’s unclear why Chief Collins denied the traffic exists. He ended the interview early, saying he would not “throw his officer under the bus.”
So far, no body camera or dash camera footage has surfaced but WLBT did not have the chance to ask Collins about it since he ended the interview.
Jackson is a veteran Brookhaven narcotics officer who has been assigned to various drug task forces through the years.
Rico Cain, head of the Brookhaven/Lincoln County Chapter of the NAACP, says there have been other complaints against her, at least with the NAACP.
“I’m going to be asking Chief Collins or the mayor or whoever Miss Jackson works for, I’m going to be asking that she is either removed from Brookhaven/Lincoln County or that she turn in her resignation,” said Cain. “What is going to happen is that no other African American or any other race is ever going to trust her and nobody is ever going to be comfortable around her.”
As the radio traffic winds down, Bobby Hathorn can be heard asking if his daughter is alright. “Is the vehicle stopped, he asked. “10, is the vehicle stopped? Is she okay?”
When he arrived on the scene, his daughter was in handcuffs. But she was okay.
Two days later, little Indya Renee Sims was born. Vivian said she is healthy and doing well.
“Since I have never had a gun put in my face or pointed in my direction, every night since that happened, I’ve woken up,” Vivian Hathorn siad. “The first night after it happened, I woke up hysterically crying, thinking I’m hurt or something like that. The next couple of nights, I’ve had nightmares where I’ve been shot or I’ve wrecked.”
Vivian Hathorn said she laments the fact that she knows Jackson, and has for years. Jackson not only knows her, but knows her kids, she said. It feels like a betrayal, and instead of all the wrangling, she said she wishes she had just gotten an apology from Jackson or Collins.
“I feel like I can’t call on them now, like I don’t trust the police department anymore, and I hate that my dad works there to be honest,” Hathorn said. “And I feel for him in his job, because I know it has to be hard to work for someone who basically betrayed him.”