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Officers injured during pursuit, arrest of alleged drunken driver

October 18th, 2011 9:28 pm by Becky Campbell

Two Washington County sheriff’s deputies were injured last week during an arrest of an alleged drunken driver, a department spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.
Deputy Lonnie Ratliff suffered a broken elbow and Deputy Laura Tester has an injured shoulder, police said.
Both injuries came while the two and other officers were trying to arrest a New Mexico man who was pulled over after Ratliff saw him driving the wrong way on Interstate 26.
It happened around 2 a.m. Oct. 13 when Ratliff observed the vehicle traveling on west in the eastbound lane of I-26.
When officers tried to pull the vehicle over, the driver — later identified as Joseph G. Parsons, 37, of 8 Cravens Road, Moriarty, N.M. — wouldn’t stop his car and even “intentionally steered his auto toward the officers” as they tried to get him to stop.
Once Parsons was in custody, officers charged him with DUI, evading arrest, three counts of reckless endangerment, possession of drug paraphernalia, three counts of assault on an officer, carrying a prohibited weapon and resisting arrest.
During the pursuit, two motorists traveling the correct direction apparently had to take evasive action in order to avoid being hit by Parsons.
About three miles later, Parsons apparently pulled off the interstate and into the parking lot of Waffle House on Boones Creek Road, where he “bolted out of his vehicle” and resisted officers as they attempted to take him into custody, police said.
According to court documents filed by Ratliff, Parsons fought with officers until they were able to subdue him with pepper spray and take him into custody.
Washington County Sheriff’s Chief Operating Officer Leighta Laitinen said Ratliff and Tester were both injured during the arrest.
Officers found a glass pipe in Parsons’ pants pocket and a homemade machete with a 17½-inch blade in his car.
Parsons was jailed on $65,000 bond and has a hearing scheduled for Monday at 1:30 p.m.

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