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Area officer injured during pursuit

Monday, October 12, 2009

A local police officer was injured during a 20-minute pursuit with a Brazil man Monday morning.

Richard J. Hoffman Jr., 56, is currently incarcerated at the Clay County Justice Center on a $10,000 cash bond (with no 10 percent allowed) for his alleged involvement in a pursuit involving the Brazil Police and the Clay County Sheriff's departments shortly before 4:30 a.m.

According to a BPD press release, officers were informed about an allegedly intoxicated driver traveling westbound on United States 40. The driver was in a vehicle matching the description of one believed used in at least two recent convenient store robberies.

When BPD Patrolman Jeremy Mace located and attempted to pull over the driver of the grey Chevrolet pickup truck, the driver refused to stop. With Mace and CCSD Deputy James Switzer following the vehicle at speeds around 45 mph, the driver slammed on the brakes, put the vehicle in reverse and rammed Mace's vehicle.

The driver continued to push the police cruiser in reverse until it hit Switzer's vehicle, moving both vehicles a short distance before stopping again, pulling forward and attempting to ram the two vehicles again.

However, the officers were able to avoid being struck and continued following the driver to an undisclosed residence on west Rio Grande Road (County Road 1200 North) where Hoffman was taken into custody.

Complaining of chest pains, officers arranged for Hoffman to be transported to St. Vincent Clay Hospital by TransCare personnel, where he was treated and later released.

Officials confirmed an alcohol test determined Hoffman's blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.14.

Suffering from injuries sustained in the accident, Mace was also transported to St. Vincent Clay Hospital and treated for neck and back pain before being released. While officials at the BPD confirmed Mace was already scheduled to be off the next couple of days, it is not clear at this time when he will return to duty due to the recovery time necessary for his injuries.

No injuries were reported for deputies Switzer and Eric Walker.

However, The Brazil Times was able to speak with Mace Monday afternoon, as he was finishing up paperwork for the case at the department.

"I'm a little sore right now, but otherwise I'm fine," Mace said. "The doctors diagnosed some soft issue trauma to my lower back, but said there nothing permanent at this time. Right now, I'm expecting to return to work on Wednesday."

But Mace's patrol car won't be back out on the streets so soon.

Due to the Monday being Columbus Day, BPD officials have been unable to contact the insurance company about the damaged car or have a claims adjuster take a look at it.

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times the CCSD cruiser was damaged in the front end, but not as much as the BPD vehicle. He said the department is also waiting to contact the insurance company due to the holiday.

Hoffman was preliminarily charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resisting law enforcement, criminal recklessness with a motor vehicle, battery with a vehicle resulting in bodily injury, driving while suspended and driving with an expired registration plate.

On Monday evening, jail officials confirmed to The Brazil Times Hoffman is still incarcerated, awaiting formal court proceedings per the court calendar.

The incident remains under investigation and a case report will be turned over to the Clay County Prosecutor's Office for review and potential further charges being filed in the matter.

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I have got to say those are some very pritty blue eyes.

-- Posted by pepper1 on Tue, Oct 13, 2009, at 5:40 PM

Yea, and a mono-brow. Another candidate for Clay Co. citizen of the year.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Tue, Oct 13, 2009, at 6:28 PM

This is a good guy who is just been through a great deal lately. He looks like hell. I used to worship the ground that he walked on, a very very long time ago.

-- Posted by busymomandstudent on Thu, Oct 15, 2009, at 10:32 PM

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