Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Daugherty testified Tuesday that he wasn’t sure he “was going to make it,” last year after a fleeing robbery suspect mowed him down as the officer attempted to throw out a spike strip.
Daugherty, who was out of work 13 months, testified emotionally at times about the injuries he suffered — particularly when viewing photographs of the crash and of himself in the hospital.
Dalvin Stephens, 20; Reginald Dewayne Smith, 43; and Ashley Nicole McGraw, 19, all of Johnson City, are charged with attempted first-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery.
Smith faces additional charges of unlawful possession of a weapon while Stephens faces additional charges of reckless endangerment, evading arrest and leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries.
The three were also charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, but Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood threw that charge out after ruling the state had not proven there was a decision among the defendants to commit any of the crimes. He also dismissed a tampering with evidence charge against Smith after determining the state had not proved Smith threw out a gun supposedly used in the alleged robbery at 310 Sand Valley Road.
The charges stem from a Jan. 2, 2012, incident that police say started with a robbery, led to a police pursuit and ended with Daugherty being hit by the car driven by Stephens.
In addition to hearing from Daugherty, the jury also heard testimony from Stephens and Smith.
Stephens told the jury he took Smith to the Sand Valley Road residence so Smith could buy marijuana. He said he had no knowledge of any weapon Smith could have had, which Eric McElyea and Daniel Hylmon, had testified about on Monday. They said Smith came into their home on Sand Valley Road with a gun and demanded money and drugs, although they claimed to have none.
Stephens also testified he fled from officers because he had no driver’s license, was on misdemeanor probation and didn’t want to go to jail. He said he never intended to hit Daugherty and even apologized to the deputy from the witness stand.
Smith testified that he did, indeed, go into 310 Sand Valley Road and purchase marijuana for $50, but he threw it out the window after officers started pursing Stephens.
But several officers testified it was a handgun Smith threw out of the car, and one was located not far from where Daugherty was hit.
The problem defense attorney Gene Scott brought up, after recalling McElyea to the stand, is that he’d given a different description of it. McEylea told officers the black gun had silver on it where the bullet comes out, but the weapon recovered from the side of the road was all black.
After Daugherty got hit, Stephens continued driving and eventually wrecked and all three bailed out of the car. They were quickly apprehended on Mount Zion Church Road.
Prosecutors and all three defense attorneys rested their cases by the end of the day. The trial will resume today with closing arguments set to begin at 9 a.m.
Stephens is jailed on a $201,000 bond, Smith has a $75,000 bond and McGraw is free on bond while the case is pending.