A Round Rock man was arrested after officials say he dragged a Williamson County deputy with his car while fleeing from a traffic stop Wednesday morning.
Jonathan Nunnally, 22, was charged with aggravated assault against a public servant with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
The female deputy, whose name was not released, was caught between the open driver’s side door and the car, said Patricia Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for the Williamson County sheriff’s office. The officer was not injured, Gutierrez said.
The deputy had stopped Nunnally at the intersection of Texas 45 and County Road 172 at 3 a.m. Wednesday because he had not moved through several changes of a traffic light, Gutierrez said.
A video tweeted Wednesday morning by Sheriff Robert Chody shows the deputy standing by Nunnally’s vehicle asking him questions before he revs the car and drives away.
A unique set of circumstances led to the deputy being dragged by Nunnally’s car, Chody said Wednesday afternoon.
The deputy first got a set of car keys from Nunnally and placed them on the roof of the car, Chody said. “The deputy felt that the threat of the suspect fleeing in a vehicle was gone and minutes later realized that there was a second set of keys the suspect pulled out,” he said.
The deputy then tried to get the keys before Nunnally put them in the ignition, Chody said, and ended up driving away with the deputy caught between the open door and the car. Another deputy was following behind, the sheriff’s office said.
Officials would not say Wednesday how far the deputy was dragged or how Nunnally was arrested.
In his tweet, Chody said, “Wilco deputies showed great restraint when deadly force could’ve been used therefore it won’t make national news.”
He said the sheriff’s office does not have a policy against deputies leaning into the cars of suspects. “In fact we train to watch the (suspect’s) hands,” Chody said.
In June 2015, Hutto police Sgt. Chris Kelley was killed after he was struck by the driver’s side door of his patrol car and run over during a struggle with Colby Williamson, who was trying to take the car. Williamson was convicted of murder in Kelley’s death in November and was sentenced to life in prison.
At least two Austin police officers have been dragged by cars in the past 15 years. Brenda Bermudez was injured in March 2006 after she became trapped in the window of a car she had pulled over, and then was dragged through a parking lot and run over.
Officer Scott Glasgow fatally shot Jesse Lee Owens in 2003 after Glasgow got caught in the door of the car Owens was driving. He was indicted for criminally negligent homicide but the charge was later dropped.
On Wednesday morning, Chody tweeted about the incident with Nunnally, saying a “highly intoxicated driver in possession of harmless marijuana and harmless cough syrup (sarcasm) nearly killed my deputies.”
The sheriff said Wednesday that he was “advising people, specifically those who say drugs or alcohol are minor offenses.”