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Officers assaulted during traffic stop

Published February 11. 2016 04:00PM

Two Coaldale police officers were banged up and bruised on Sunday and a Lansford man went to prison after what started out as a routine traffic stop.

Officers Tom Fort and Joseph David were on patrol at 12:05 a.m. that day when they saw a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze traveling in the area of Route 209 (Water Street) and Bull Run Street. The driver failed to dim his high beams when approaching other vehicles, and the officers conducted a traffic stop.

While speaking to the driver, one of the officers noticed a front seat passenger, identified as Brett Rodriguez, 37, of Lansford, reach into his pocket, causing something to fall between the passenger seat and door. When Fort opened the passenger door, a small plastic bag, filled with a white crystalline substance, fell to the ground.

As David attempted to handcuff Rodriguez, the man began twisting and pulling away. When told to stop resisting arrest, Rodriguez began kicking and punching the officers. At one point, David was kicked to the ground.

The officers deployed their Tasers, but Rodriguez continued to struggle until both men were finally able to subdue him and place him in handcuffs. The handcuffs didn't stop Rodriguez from continuing to kick the officers, sending Fort to the ground, where he struck his head. The suspect was held down on the ground for several minutes until he stopped resisting.

The white substance field tested positive for methamphetamine.

Rodriguez was arraigned before duty District Judge Christine Hale on three felony counts of aggravated assault; three felony counts of aggravated assault on police; six misdemeanor counts of simple assault; one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia; and four summary counts of harassment.

Bail was set at $25,000 straight cash, landing Rodriguez in the Schuylkill County Prison in Pottsville.

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