Wis. officer narrowly escapes critical injuries as suspect drags him with car

P-1 Editor's Note -- "Treat a car just like any other deadly weapon," says training expert Craig Stapp.

  • Don't get in a position where you're caught or trapped physically by the car (like standing in the V of an open door: if the car backs up, you're stuck.)
  • Don't stand in front of a vehicle or reach out and hold on, assuming the driver won’t take off. He might!
  • Don't grab someone inside a vehicle such that he can grab you and drive off.
  • Don't reach inside a vehicle grabbing for keys.
  • Don't stick your arm through a half-opened window.

Craig Stapp is a firearms training sergeant for the Tempe, AZ PD and a member of the Technical Advisory Board for the Force Science Research Center at Minnesota State University.

By Mike Miller
The Capital Times

A Madison police officer nearly had his legs taken off as he tried to arrest a suspected drug dealer who continued to crash his car into obstacles as the officer held onto him from an open car door.

Instead, Madison Police Officer Matt Schroedl only suffered severe bruises as the lower half of his body dangled out of the car that Kenneth R. Green used to try to escape arrest.

Green, who police approached because of outstanding warrants on Feb. 10, had a cash bail set Friday for $50,000 for the felony charge of first-degree reckless endangerment, as well as a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Schroedl and other officers were approaching Green's Toyota Camry when one of the officers noticed Green, who they feared would be armed, searching frantically for something.

"He's reaching, he's reaching," Sgt. Linda Kosovac reportedly yelled, as Schroedltried the driver's side door and quickly got it to open.

Just as Schroedl got a grip on Green to pull him out, though, the car sped off in reverse, with Green's legs trailing outside.

The Camry almost immediately smashed into one of the officer's squad cars, hitting it so hard that it pushed it back several yards, according to officers quoted in the complaint. One of the officers on the scene, Dao Xiong, was struck by the open driver's side door as Green continued to hang on.

After the first crash, Green continued backing erratically and struck a second squad car, hard enough to jar the open passenger side door into the front quarter panel.

Green's car then careened toward another parked car, which it also hit. Schroedl legs, according to the reports of other officers, hit the vehicle and were pushed up and over the trunk of the parked car. This time the driver's side door of Green's car was pushed into the front left quarter panel.

Schroedl would later tell a detective that he felt his legs get pinned and dragged as his lower body hit another vehicle.

After crashing into a third car, he saw that Green's Camry was now headed toward a building near Flower Lane on the city's west side.

"He braced himself again for the impact, and was surprised when the car stopped short of the building," the complaint says.

Green had finally hit a large snowbank, which stopped the car before it could collide with the building. Schroedl reached across the steering column to get the gear shifter. The engine revved again, but the car didn't move, the complaint says.

Schroedl managed to get out of the car and to drag Green out with him.

Schroedl, the complaint said, "was surprised and relieved when he looked at his legs to discover they were not severely hurt."

"He sustained no breaks or fractures, but his legs were severely bruised."

The first-degree reckless endangerment charge normally carries a maximum term of prison and extended supervision of 12 1/2 years but because Green has a previous conviction of intimidation of a victim in a 2006 case, the maximum is increased by six years. The misdemeanor resisting charge carries a maximum of nine months in jail but is increased to two years because of the previous conviction. A preliminary hearing for Green is set for Thursday.

Copyright 2007 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

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