Police release 2018 video of Conn. officer being dragged for a mile

Footage shows the officer clinging to an SUV that police said traveled a mile


Christine Dempsey
The Hartford Courant

GROTON, Conn. — Groton police have released video of an officer being dragged last year.

The body camera footage shows Officer Tyler DeAngelo clinging to an SUV that police said traveled a mile -- at one point exceeding 50 mph. DeAngelo was not severely injured.

“He’s very lucky, let’s put it that way,” Deputy Chief Paul Gately said Friday.

The driver, Taj L. Dickerson, then 22, was arrested on more than a dozen charges after the dragging, police said. They said at the time that he had marijuana and crack in the vehicle. His attorney could not be reached Friday.

Dickerson, of Nautilus Drive in New London, was convicted on July 17 of engaging police in pursuit and assault on a public safety officer, court records show. He was sentenced in Superior Court in New London to a little more than a year in jail, with his full sentence being five years, suspended after 400 days, followed by three years of probation.

According to police, the dragging followed a traffic stop about 4 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2018. DeAngelo had noticed an equipment violation on the 2007 Ford Edge and pulled Dickerson over on Fort Hill Road in the town of Groton, just west of the intersection with North Road, or Route 117.

DeAngelo smelled marijuana in the car and Dickerson admitted he had pot on him, police said at the time. So DeAngelo asked Dickerson to get out, and, as a back-up officer arrived, Dickerson did. Dickerson then told the officers he had a dog in the car as well, and they asked him to remove it.

Police searched the car and found crack cocaine, police said. The officers decided they would be taking Dickerson into custody, but as they were making arrangements to put the dog in a police car, Dickerson ran back toward the Edge and got in, they said.

DeAngelo ran after him, and the two struggled in the driver’s seat. Dickerson put the car into drive and sped off, with DeAngelo partially hanging out of the car, police said. The Edge continued west on Fort Hill Road to Poquonnock Road, or Route 1, with DeAngelo clinging to the car, its driver’s side door open.

Dickerson ignored the officer’s commands to stop as the car hit speeds of more than 50 mph, police said. DeAngelo was dragged about a mile.

When it appeared Dickerson was steering toward a utility pole, the officer, fearing for his life, grabbed the steering wheel to turn away from the pole, police said. DeAngelo then let go and fell onto Poquonnock Road, police said.

Fellow officers helped him while others chased Dickerson from Poquonnock Road to Long Hill Road and onto I-95 south. Dickerson continued driving into New London, police said. Officers stopped the car on Eugene O’Neill Drive with help from New London officers.

DeAngelo suffered scrapes, bruises and a cut to the back of the head that required staples to close, police said. He returned to work on light duty within a week.

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©2019 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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