Man in scuffle with Steamboat police officers Thursday faces 8 charges
January 25, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version to clarify that Williams was to appear in Routt County Court.
The man who Steamboat Springs police say tried to take an officer's gun during a scuffle late last week is facing eight criminal charges, including felony assault, attempt to disarm a peace officer, misdemeanor driving under the influence and resisting arrest.
Rodney Williams III, 23, is due to appear in Routt County Court today for a preliminary hearing.
According to a sworn affidavit by Steamboat Springs Police Department Officer Doug Scherar, the incident began when he pulled over Williams, a transient, at about 2 a.m. Thursday on the west side of Steamboat.
Scherar said one of the headlights was out on the truck Williams was driving. Williams stuck his head out the window and told Scherar he was almost out of gas, and Scherar instructed him to pull into The Fuel Stop. Once there, Scherar said Williams told him he didn't have a credit card and needed to go to 7-Eleven, according to the statement. Scherar said he would follow him there. While trailing Williams, Scherar said, the background check on the license plates came back from dispatch with five warrants for Williams' arrest.
Williams then made a U-turn and started speeding westbound on U.S. Highway 40, Scherar reported. He made another U-turn near Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park and jumped out of the truck near the entrance to the Steamboat Campground, according to Scherar. Scherar chased Williams about 20 yards into deep snow, drew his Taser and ordered him to stop.
Scherar said he ordered Williams onto his stomach as Officer Scott Middleton approached.
Williams grabbed Middleton's legs when the officer tried to handcuff him, according to Scherar. Scherar said he tried several times to use his Taser on Williams, but it did not appear to be shocking him.
"The Taser probes did not penetrate his thick coat and I attempted to … stun him several more times as he fought with us," Scherar wrote in the affidavit. "The Taser probes were tangled all over the place from the suspect trying to fight with us, and I was shocked several times."
Williams then tried to take the Taser and Middleton's handgun, Scherar said.
"I began punching the suspect in the face repeatedly to subdue him," he wrote in the affidavit.
Middleton then pepper sprayed Williams, which subdued him until they again tried to handcuff him. When he started to fight with officers again, Scherar said he unsuccessfully tried to shock Williams, who punched Scherar in the face. Scherar returned the punches, at which point Officer Stuart Hutton arrived and helped Middleton and Scherar handcuff Williams.
Scherar and Middleton said they smelled alcohol on Williams' breath. He refused a blood test when he was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center complaining of an asthma attack.
Scherar wrote that Middleton's hand was severely swollen after the fight and was X-rayed. Middleton and Scherar were treated for multiple abrasions and cuts.
Routt County Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann, whose office is representing Williams, did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday afternoon. Williams remained in Routt County Jail.
The charges against Williams are felony second-degree assault, felony criminal attempt to commit disarming a peace officer, felony vehicular eluding, misdemeanor DUI, misdemeanor resisting arrest, misdemeanor driving under restraint, illegal possession or consumption of alcohol in motor vehicle, and defective vehicle headlights.