WA police officer dragged, run over while trying to arrest suspect

A Milton police officer was critically injured earlier Wednesday while attempting to detain a suspect with an outstanding drug warrant near the Pierce/King County line.

It happened in a Taco Bell parking lot early Wednesday morning.

The chief of police says the officer who was injured, Officer Haney, is so well-liked, he’s known around town as the "teddy bear."

"He’s well liked in the community, he’s loved by all, and he's described as the giant teddy bear," said Milton Police Chief Tony Hernandez.

Chief Hernandez says Haney was patrolling with officer Wilcox when the two spotted the suspect, wanted on a narcotics warrant, standing near another vehicle in a Taco Bell parking lot near Meridian Ave E and 8th St E. Employees say the Taco Bell was closed at the time.

"The officer fell from the vehicle and then the vehicle ran over both of his legs," said Hernandez. "It escalated quite quickly."

When Haney and Wilcox tried to make the arrest, the man took off running towards a black SUV.

"They were chasing him. He jumped in the vehicle," said Hernandez. "There was a struggle that happened as they got to the car."

Wilcox yelled a warning as the SUV started to move.

"He told officer Haney, ‘Hey, let him go’. Officer Haney said, ‘I can’t’," said Hernandez. "His arm was stuck behind the suspect. The suspect then took off, dragging the officer, and the officer fell from the vehicle and then subsequently had both legs ran over."

The wheels traveled over Haney’s upper thighs, causing a severe break and other critical injuries. Wilcox applied a tourniquet until EMTs arrived.

"It could have been a lot worse than it was we could have had two dead individuals," said Hernandez.

The police chief says Kent Police stopped the suspect using a PIT maneuver.

"They ended up having to break out some windows, deploy pepper balls," said Hernandez.

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After the arrest, investigators said they found drugs and a fake gun in the SUV following a search with a warrant. On Wednesday, they told FOX 13 that they planned to take impressions of the tiers into evidence to potentially match to tread imprints left on Officer Haney’s legs. Hernandez feels the officer is lucky to be alive following the ordeal.

"We hope that his injuries in the end will be minor, but we are waiting for the report after surgery," said Hernandez.

Hernandez said that Haney was under heavy sedation earlier in the afternoon Wednesday but was in high spirits before going into surgery at around 1:00 pm.

On Thursday morning, Milton Mayor Shanna Styron Sherrell announced on Facebook that Officer Haney is out of surgery, in good condition and expected to make a full recovery.

"We are committed to providing support to Officer Haney and his family during this difficult time," Mayor Sherrell added in her Facebook post. "We respectfully ask for their privacy as they focus on recovery."

Mayor Sherrell said they are closely monitoring Officer Haney's progress and will provide updates as they become available.

"I am forever grateful for our officers who serve and protect this community. They risk their safety daily to uphold law and order. I'm forever grateful for their personal sacrifices and courage," said Mayor Sherrell.

The suspect was booked into the Pierce County jail. He could face charges including felony assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Police Chief Tony Hernandez praised the bravery of both Officer Haney and his partner, Officer Wilcox, in the face of danger. Hernandez also extended thanks to neighboring law enforcement agencies for their assistance.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Haney and his family during this difficult time," Chief Hernandez said. "This incident underscores the bravery of our officers and all law enforcement officers and their willingness to confront danger to protect and serve our community."

The Milton Police Department also acknowledged the swift care provided by East Pierce Fire and Rescue and the hospital staff attending to Officer Haney.

The department is now asking for the public's assistance regarding the incident. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Milton Police Department at 253-831-4278 or via email at miltonpolicewebsite@cityofmilton.net.


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