Interstate 80 Roadside Clash Puts One Person In Hospital

By Lee Hermiston, Reporter

WEST BRANCH, Iowa -- A traffic stop on Interstate 80 Sunday afternoon turned into a 13-minute melee that put one person in the hospital.

According to Iowa State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Scott Bright, troopers received a call of an erratic semi driver in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 at 2:10 p.m. Sunday. Troopers pulled over the driver at the 257 mile marker east of West Branch. The trouble began almost immediately.

"The driver became very combative," Bright said. "He did not want to listen to the troopers' commands."

Bright said the two troopers on the scene tried to calm down the driver - who has not yet been identified because he has not been charged.

Instead, a physical confrontation ensued between the driver, the two troopers and a Cedar County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy who responded to the call. The struggle lasted for 13 minutes on the side of the road, Bright said.

Iowa State Patrol troopers do not carry Tasers and the troopers did not use any force beyond hands-on tactics. Bright said when the driver finally agreed to be restrained, he went "unresponsive." The two troopers initiated CPR and the driver was transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for treatment. Bright said he didn't know what the driver's condition was on Monday.

The fact that the driver was able to fight off three law enforcement officers for 13 minutes raised some red flags, including the possibility that the driver was under the influence of some type of narcotic.

Unspecified evidence found his the semi appears to have backed up that suspicion, Bright said.

"It's very, very likely this individual was under the influence of some narcotic drug," he said.

Law enforcement obtained a specimen from the driver that will be tested for narcotics, Bright said. The outcome of that could determine whether the driver faces an operating while intoxicated charge. He will almost certainly face some type of assault charge, Bright said.

The Scott County Sheriff's Office, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement division and the individuals from the Iowa Department of Transportation's maintenance shop in Tipton responded to the call, Bright said.
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