10/11/2006

Pickup carried Neb. officer more than 800 feet

By Tom Shaw and Jennifer Greff
Copyright 2006 The Omaha World-Herald Company 
 
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Neb.- A Council Bluffs police officer shot a Bluffs man three times Sunday, with one bullet breaking his arm and another lodging near his lung, said the man's grandmother.

Scott E. Smith, 36, had surgery Monday to repair some of his injuries, said the grandmother, Jane Perry of Council Bluffs. She said Smith also had been shot in the leg.

Smith's condition at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha was not being released today.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, which is investigating the incident, would only say Smith had been shot at least twice.

He was shot during a traffic stop Sunday afternoon on Interstate 29 just southwest of the Mid-America Center arena. Smith had pulled over onto the shoulder, but he refused to shut off the engine and get out of his pickup truck.

The officer tried to use a stun gun on Smith through a halfopen window. With the officer on the truck's running board, Smith accelerated.

"The police officer was carried over 800 feet while hanging onto the side of the pickup Mr. Smith was driving," said special agent David Dales of the Division of Criminal Investigation.

Authorities said the officer shot Smith as the truck was accelerating. Police would not say whether Smith was armed. The officer was treated at a hospital and released.

Bluffs Police Chief Keith Mehlin said the officer's identity may not be released until Wednesday, after he receives counseling.

He has not been involved in a deadly force situation while with the department, Mehlin said.

Authorities interviewed one passer-by, but investigators want to hear from anyone who may have seen the incident.

People traveling north on Interstate 29 near mile marker 51 between 3:35 p.m. and 3:40 p.m. Sunday are asked to call the state investigation division at 712-322-1585.

Mehlin said the officer recognized the truck because it had been used to flee from a traffic stop three days earlier. Smith was being stopped Sunday for a broken windshield and not wearing a seat belt.

Court records show that Smith has been convicted of more than 35 traffic violations in the last several years.

Smith also has been to prison. Court records indicate that he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in September 2002 for a felony drug charge. He was paroled in May 2003 but sent back to prison for a parole violation from February 2004 until January 2005.

Smith was booked into the Pottawattamie County Jail in February for a parole violation.

Perry, Smith's grandmother, said Smith got into trouble by hanging out with the wrong people. She said he works as a mechanic and had been staying with a family friend near Perry's house.

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