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Man accused impersonating Army officer sues officials

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ A Missouri man accused of impersonating an Army officer during the deadly Interstate 40 bridge collapse is suing Muskogee County officials over access to legal documents.

William James Clark filed a civil lawsuit Thursday in federal court, naming Sheriff Charles Pearson and jail employees Raymond Barnes and Billie Thompson as defendants.

Clark, of Tallapoosa, Mo., is charged in federal court in Muskogee with impersonating an officer and a weapons count. He has been in jail since he was arrested in Canada in June.

Clark appeared in Webbers Falls, wearing fatigues and acting like an officer, immediately after a barge hit the I-40 bridge over the Arkansas River May 26, causing a collapse that killed 14 people.

He looked through some victims' personal possessions and even called the wife of Army Maj. and bridge victim Andrew Clements to inform her of his death, authorities alleged.

The lawsuit comes a week after a federal judge delayed Clark's mental competency hearing so he could receive more psychiatric evaluation.

In a handwritten complaint filed Dec. 4, Clark said the three were inhibiting his efforts to deal with his criminal case.

``For the last two months I've been asking for law books, case logs, legal copies so that I could research my case,'' Clark wrote. ``These defendants keep saying they can't and won't provide me these items, and if I don't like it _ tough.''

An Oklahoma psychiatrist has not determined Clark's mental competency. Her report to the Muskogee federal court is tentatively expected sometime in January.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Hess, who is prosecuting Clark's case, did not know how his civil filings would affect his criminal evaluation.

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