A Coaldale police officer was hospitalized Tuesday after being assaulted by a borough man who had earlier came close to hitting the officer's cruiser head-on.
Ian Patrick McGregor, 25, of 110 E. High St., is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, harassment, failing to drive on the right side of the highway, meeting vehicle proceeding in the opposite direction, overtaking a vehicle on the right, careless driving and failure to use restraint systems.
He is in Schuylkill County prison under $35,000 percentage bail after being arraigned before on-call District Judge Carol Pankake of Tremont.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Patrolman Charles Andrew Blesse, the officer was on patrol at about 10:30 p.m., traveling west on Route 209, when he saw a blue Dodge Daytona traveling east on the same highway. There was a vehicle in front of the suspect's vehicle, making a left-hand turn onto Greenwood Street. The suspect's vehicle then proceeded to go around the vehicle making the turn and went up into a snow bank.
Blesse turned around to see if the driver was OK. The vehicle then proceeded to make a right-hand turn onto Bull Run Street.
Blesse followed, and saw Sgt. Keith Krapf, who was in a marked police vehicle, turn his vehicle around and activate his emergency lights and sirens to make a traffic stop. Blesse, who also had his lights and sirens going, followed Krapf.
Upon speaking with Sgt. Krapf, he stated that the suspect vehicle went out of his normal lane of travel and almost collided head-on with his patrol vehicle.
Blesse and Krapf approached the stopped car from the driver's side. They both smelled a strong odor of alcohol from McGregor's face. McGregor had slurred speech and glossy, bloodshot eyes, police said.
He told the officers he had had one beer.
When asked to step out of his car for a field sobriety test, McGregor swore at the officers, calling them pigs, and became combative and refused to comply with the officers' demands. McGregor was given many reasonable warnings to comply, but said he was going to "wreck us and we were nothing but fat pigs."
McGregor was arrested for suspicion of DUI. When the officers tried to handcuff him, he started "pushing and elbowing both myself and Sgt. Krapf."
The officers wrestled McGregor to the ground while he kicked at them. McGregor continued to kick and elbow the officers even after being handcuffed. As they tried to get him into the back of Blesse's cruiser, McGregor either kicked or elbowed Krapf in the ribs so hard Krapf was unable to walk. Krapf was taken to the emergency room at St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital in the borough and treated for chest injuries. The extent of his injuries were unknown as of early Wednesday.
McGregor was put in the back of Blesse's cruiser with help from borough Fire Chief Richard Marek, Tamaqua, West Penn, Summit Hill and Lansford police.
"It was a great response," Police Chief Tim Delaney said Wednesday of the other departments' assistance. "I appreciate it."
Once inside the cruiser, McGregor began banging his head on the cage of the cruiser, kicking and punching it. He was taken to St. Luke's Miners to be checked for injuries to his head from hitting it off the cage. He was also given a blood-alcohol test. The results of that test are pending.