|Case involving subject who ran WPD roadblock bound over for trial|
|Written by Dee Holzel|
|Tuesday, February 28 2012 03:54|
WINNEMUCCA — The case involving a man who ran a Winnemucca Police Department roadblock, allegedly injuring an officer in the process, has been bound over for trial.
Duane Gray, 42, was in Union Township Justice Court on Thursday (Feb. 2) for a preliminary hearing. Following testimony, Judge Gene Wambolt ruled there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial on two felony counts: battery on an officer with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury.
The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office was represented by Deputy DA Roger Whomes; the defendant was represented by Robert Dolan.
Officer Chad Farstveet testified he was dispatched to the Sage Hills subdivision last October during a brush fire threatening multiple structures. He was there to assist the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in setting up roadblocks to keep out all but emergency vehicles.
Farstveet set up a roadblock on Pedroli Lane. He parked his marked WPD vehicle diagonally in one lane and stood in the other lane directing traffic to turn around. He said his emergency flashers were on.
He told the court he turned back civilian vehicles and let emergency vehicles through for about 15 minutes before Gray’s arrival.
He said he observed Gray’s pickup approaching at a “pretty good rate of speed”. He said he waved his arms in the air but the defendant appeared to have no intention of stopping.
Gray did come to a screeching halt, Farstveet said, but did not stop in time to avoid the collision. He struck the officer and knocked him back several feet. Farstveet said, "It felt to me like he was trying to run me over."
Farstveet yelled for the defendant to get out of the car, but Gray allegedly responded he would not get out of the vehicle because he was going to the fire.
Farstveet circled the car and opened the door. He attempted to remove Gray from the vehicle, but the defendant flailed his arms in an attempt to keep the officer away, then put the car in gear and started to drive away – allegedly dragging the officer with him.
Farstveet clung to the vehicle and kept his hold on Gray, afraid if he let go he would be sucked under the moving pickup, but he lost his grip when the defendant’s shirt tore and fell to the ground. Farstveet said he fell on his back and rolled.
Gray was stopped at the next roadblock and arrested.
Farstveet told the court at first he did not feel the impact of his injuries, he even responded to two calls after the incident, but began to feel the result of having fallen on his back. He said he still has trouble from his injuries four months later.
Under questioning from Dolan, Farstveet acknowledged being angry that the defendant ran into him, he may even have used expletives, but denied using those expletives as he took hold of the defendant. Additionally, he said the defendant did not appear startled when approached by Farstveet.
Of his approaching the defendant Farstveet said, “The reason I opened the door is because he told me he was not going to get out of the vehicle, at which time I have the authority to open the door and remove him.”
Dolan asked if his client indicated he was going to the fire to help the female passenger in the car whose home was being threatened, and Farstveet said that was true.
During closing statements Whomes noted for the court that for 15 minutes before the defendant’s arrival at the scene the public cooperated with the roadblock – including many other people whose homes were being threatened by the fire.
During his closing statements, Dolan argued the incident was an accident, which is not a criminal act in Nevada, and said it was “a flimsy case.”
He pointed out the defendant did try and stop before hitting the officer.and said, “Sometimes people miscalculate distance.”
As for the officer’s injuries, Dolan noted according to his own testimony Farstveet continued working after the collision.
The case has been transferred to the 6th Judicial District Court for further proceedings. Gray’s case is scheduled for arraignment at 4:15 p.m. March 5 in Judge Michael Montero’s court.
Gray remains in custody at the Humboldt County Detention Center on $70,627 bail.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, February 28 2012 09:01|