Preliminary hearings set for trio accused in armed robbery, crash that injured WC deputy

Becky Campbell • Jan 3, 2012 at 11:38 PM

As Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Daugherty continued to recover Tuesday at a local hospital from being hit by a fleeing vehicle, the three charged with a preceding robbery and ultimately injuring him were being arraigned in court.

Police said Dalvin Jashauntelynn Stephens, 18, 1726 Dave Buck Road, was driving the Chevy Cavalier that hit Daugherty at 11:14 a.m. Monday as the officer was throwing out a spike strip on Tenn. Highway 81 South in an attempt to disable the vehicle.

Stephens is charged with attempted first-degree murder, robbery, felony evading arrest, failure to yield, driving on a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries and three counts of reckless endangerment.

Two passengers in the car also face charges.

Reginald Dewayne Smith, 41, 1419 Colony Park Drive, and Ashley Nicole McGraw, 18, 127 Forest Hills Drive, are charged with robbery, evading arrest and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.

The three were arraigned by Sessions Court Judge Robert Lincoln, who appointed attorneys, set a preliminary hearing date and increased bond for them.

Stephens’ bond is now $201,000, Smith has a bond of $170,000 and McGraw is being held on a $75,000 bond.

According to Sheriff Ed Graybeal, Daugherty was at the front end of a pursuit that began after 911 received a call about a robbery at 310 Sand Valley Road, Jonesborough.

As Sgt. Lee Cross began pursuing the car, driven by Stephens, Daugherty was attempting to deploy stop sticks to flatten the car tires as the suspect drove over them.

Instead of hitting the stop sticks, Stephens swerved into the oncoming lane to avoid them but in the process hit Daugherty.

Graybeal said he believes the suspect had other options.

“They could have, in my opinion, taken other evasive action to avoid hitting him,” Graybeal said.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies were back at the scene Tuesday morning going over all the evidence there.

“It was pretty traumatic,” Graybeal said of Daugherty getting hit. “His belt buckle dug into the pavement.”

Investigators estimate Stephens was going 70-80 mph when he struck Daugherty. The impact threw the officer into the air, “completely spinning his body vertically 360 degrees and landing approximately 77 feet from the point of impact,” Sgt. Sammy Phillips wrote in a court document.

Graybeal said Daugherty landed face down and attempted to roll over, but another officer kept him from moving until medical help arrived.

The robbery that caused the pursuit, according to Graybeal, involved drugs or money.

“We think it was both money and/or drugs. It was one of those two things from what we can find out so far,” he said.

Just before the car hit Daugherty, someone in the vehicle threw out a handgun investigators say was used in the robbery. After search of the area, officers located that weapon, Graybeal said.

The sheriff said he saw Daugherty Tuesday morning and the injured officer “is in good spirits” after undergoing surgery on a compound arm fracture the day before. Daugherty also is facing additional surgeries later this week. Aside from the compound arm fracture, Daugherty also has a broken wrist and a knee injury.

Graybeal said the last time an officer was injured from being struck by a vehicle was in 1986.

Stephens, Smith and McGraw are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m.

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