What started out as a routine traffic stop for an expired dealer's tag turned into a potentially life-threatening situation for a Rapid City police officer, who was dragged by the vehicle for a short distance after one of the vehicle's occupants attempted to flee the scene.
The incident happened around 2:50 p.m. on Sunday in the area of E. Boulevard and Omaha Street after officers pulled over an SUV, according to a news release from the Rapid City Police Department.
The officers then asked the driver of the SUV, Amanda Hoftiernan of Rapid City, and her passenger, John Challender of Box Elder, to exit the vehicle after discovering vehicle's registration to be altered and forged.
Hoftiernan refused to exit the vehicle and had to be removed by officers, at which time Challender slid into the driver's seat and attempted to flee, according to the release.
"While trying to stop the male from fleeing, the officer was dragged by the vehicle a short distance," the release states. "The officer was able to free himself from the vehicle when it struck a curb; however, the vehicle ran over the officer's legs."
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The vehicle was stopped a short distance away where officers arrested Challender for aggravated assault on law enforcement, obstruction, impersonation to deceive law enforcement, and two counts of possession of a methamphetamine. Challender also had six outstanding arrest warrants. Hoftiernan was also arrested for obstruction, alteration of registration card, and no proof of insurance.
Brendyn Medina, spokesperson for the Rapid City Police Department, said the injured officer escaped with only a few scratches from the incident.
"This is another example of just how quickly a routine traffic stop can escalate to a life-or-death scenario for our officers," Medina said.