Jennings man sentenced for assaulting an officer

BY MARK WEBBER
For The Tribune

A Jennings County man who fired a weapon at one Columbus police officer and kicked another in the head was given the maximum sentence possible under a plea agreement in Bartholomew Superior Court 1.

Christopher O. May of North Vernon was sentenced Sept. 27 to seven years of incarceration, including six in a state prison, by Judge James Worton.

In the early afternoon of Feb. 27, witnesses saw May’s green pickup narrowly avoid hitting another vehicle while running a red light at the intersection of 25th Street and Taylor Road in Columbus, according to a probable cause affidavit.

But as the truck sped away, one witness followed May north while updating police on his cellphone, according to the written account filed three days later by Columbus Police Sgt. Jay Frederick.

A few minutes later, May crashed his truck into another vehicle driven by David Doup at the intersection of 31st Street and Taylor Road, the affidavit stated.

The impact forced Doup to veer off the road and drive through two yards until his vehicle was finally stopped by a water spigot, the affidavit stated.

When two bystanders attempted to check on the North Vernon man, May came at them in an aggressive manner while holding a stun gun, the officer wrote.

Both bystanders told investigators they believed May was on drugs because “he was yelling at people who weren’t there,” Frederick wrote.

Although May admitted in court he was addicted to methamphetamine, the judge said it remains unclear whether the suspect was under the influence of meth or heroin at the time.

After police arrived, May approached Frederick in a threatening fashion and repeatedly ignored commands for him to drop the stun gun, the affidavit stated.

While Frederick responded by holstering his service revolver, drawing his stun gun and firing first, the weapon did not penetrate the suspect’s thick winter clothing, the officer wrote. But when May fired his stun gun at Frederick, he missed, according to the officer’s account.

After installing a second cartridge, Frederick was able to use his stun gun to successfully bring down the suspect, but May kept fighting back even after being handcuffed, the officer wrote.

May finally was brought under control after officer Greg Ross administered a second stun gun charge, the affidavit stated.

But the judge said the suspect’s most vicious behavior wasn’t exhibited until after he was taken to Columbus Regional Health, where officer Ben Quesenbery was assisting medical personnel in attempts to draw a blood sample from the suspect.

Surveillance video showed May deliberately kicked Quesenbery in the neck and head, which the affidavit stated caused the officer to suffer both extreme pain and disorientation.

After watching the video, the judge described the kick as a “coldcock,” defined as a hard blow to the head area capable of knocking someone unconscious.

Investigators later learned May had been arrested in Jennings County two weeks prior to the incident after 3½ grams of methamphetamine were found in his car.

In a plea agreement offered Aug. 18 and immediately accepted by the defendant, prosecutors asked May to plead guilty to battery against a public safety official as a Level 5 felony and misdemeanor charges of resisting law enforcement and criminal recklessness.

In exchange, the state agreed to dismiss one count of intimidation as a Level 5 felony and misdemeanor charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing endangerment and driving without ever receiving a license.

Worton cited May’s history of criminal behavior and past reluctance to seek treatment for his drug addiction as significant factors in his sentencing.

Besides incarceration, the judge ordered May to pay Doup $300 in restitution for vehicle damage and $402 restitution for the yard damage where the crash occurred.