By Hannah Poploskie
A preliminary hearing was held Friday afternoon in a felony assault with a deadly weapon case. The defendant, Roegarrius Bershawn Solomon, was also charged with a lesser count of vandalism.
A detective who served his community for 14 years was called to the stand by the prosecution. He testified that earlier in the day there was a notice of a warrant out on a Mr. Solomon. Later in the day there was an alert that officers had spotted the defendant at a local Chevron gas station, later moving to a Carl’s Jr. restaurant drive-through.
As the witness arrived at the scene, the defendant was at the pick-up window, with a white car behind him in the drive-through. The officer pulled his car directly in front of the defendant’s as a way to block him in his spot. Back-up officers arrived, so, together with his partner, the detective approached Mr. Solomon with gun drawn, giving him a verbal command to put his hands up in the air.
Mr. Solomon put his hands up, and then put them back down several times. The officer then saw the white car reverse out of its position from behind the defendant and disappear behind the restaurant as if to leave the area. When the officer continued his approach on foot, the defendant put his car in reverse in an attempt to escape. While hustling to his car to follow in pursuit, the detective heard a loud crash from the direction of where the defendant fled.
Upon cross-examination, it was asked how quickly the defendant had reversed, as the word “fast” was used. It was clarified that it was about 10 to 15 miles per hour and the distance was
about 10 feet before the curve. The officer was then dismissed from the stand.
The next witness called was another officer who reported to the scene that day and was designated as the investigative officer on the case. He has been an officer for six years and responded to the scene as back-up after hearing the other officers on the radio. When he was waiting to turn into the parking lot, the witness saw the other officers exit their vehicle and the white car back out of the drive-through.
Once in the parking lot, the witness placed his car so that he was horizontally blocking the exit of the drive-through, with the logic that his car would help prevent the escape of the defendant. When he looked up, he saw a silver car quickly approaching his car in reverse. Trying to prevent injury to himself, the officer attempted to position his body in the passenger side of the car, however his knee was still braced against the driver’s side door upon impact.
After the defendant’s car crashed into his own, the witness’ leg was partially pinned by the door, however he still reversed his car about 15 feet from the point of impact in order to take himself out of any potential cross-fire that may occur as the other officers tried to apprehend the suspect. The witness reported that he did have soreness in his leg from the accident, particularly in his knee.
In the cross-examination, the witness was asked if it was possible that the defendant already had been in reverse when he parked his vehicle at the entrance. The witness explained that he did not actually look in that direction at the time of parking so he was not sure.
At the conclusion of testimony, the judge left the main charge as a felony because of the defendant having a blatant disregard for others. Arraignment on the charges was set for March 8 at 9 am.