Carroll, IA – An Iowa man has been sentenced to prison for fleeing from a traffic stop with a police officer clinging to the hood of his car, ultimately causing the officer to suffer a broken back (video below).
The suspect, 29-year-old Dennis James Guider, told the court the officer was also to blame for his own injuries because the officer had climbed onto the suspect’s car and pointed a gun at him, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
Guider, who is black, said he was terrified of the officer because he is white.
The incident began at approximately 1 p.m. on March 5, 2021, when Carroll Police Department (CPD) Officer Patrick McCarty spotted Guider sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle in the drive-thru of a local restaurant, according to the paper.
Officer McCarty was aware Guider had a warrant for his arrest for forgery out of Illinois, so he pulled the vehicle over and politely told the fugitive about the outstanding warrant, bodycam footage showed.
“Hey, Dennis – hate to be the one to tell you this, but it sounds like you got a warrant out of Illinois,” the officer said.
About a minute after Officer McCarty asked Guider to step out of the car, the suspect suddenly shoved the female driver out of the vehicle and slid over into the driver’s seat, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
Officer McCarty drew his duty pistol and repeatedly ordered Guider to “stop the car” as he stepped in front of the suspect’s vehicle and pointed his weapon at him, the video showed.
Guider allowed the vehicle to move forward slowly, ignoring the officer’s commands.
That’s when Officer McCarty stepped up onto the hood.
“Stop the car!” he screamed. “Put on the goddamned brakes! Put on the f—king breaks!… Stop the f—king car, man.”
Dashcam footage from another patrol unit showed the officer kneeling on the hood of the suspect’s car with his weapon pointed at the windshield as the suspect pulled out onto the roadway.
Officer McCarty ultimately re-holstered his weapon and grabbed onto the roof of the vehicle as Guider hit the accelerator.
Dashcam footage showed Guider sideswiping and passing another patrol vehicle on the right-hand shoulder as Officer McCarty clung desperately to the car’s roof.
According to court records, Guider reached speeds topping 50 miles per hour before he ultimately hit a ditch, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
Officer McCarty was flung from the car due to the impact and suffered a broken vertebrae in his lower back when he hit the ground.
Guider sped away, leaving the injured officer on the ground.
“I’m okay man. Go get him!” the wounded hero told other officers on the scene who stopped to assist him, the video showed.
Police said the suspect stole a car from a nearby residence a short while later and headed to Illinois, where he was apprehended, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
Guider later pleaded guilty to a single felony count of serious injury by vehicle, according to KCCI.
Prosecutors dismissed a second felony charge of eluding as part of his plea deal, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
Despite his guilty plea, Guider argued that he only sped away because he was in fear for his life due to Officer McCarty’s actions.
His attorney, Joel Baxter, said his client is terrified of police because he is black and that the officer only “compounded the situation,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
“We don’t know would have happened if Officer McCarty hadn’t stepped in front of the vehicle, hadn’t drawn his service weapon, hadn’t stepped onto the vehicle,” the defense attorney told the court.
Carroll County Attorney John Werden, who has been on the job for more than two decades, told the judge Guider’s actions marked “the most reckless driving behavior” he’d seen during his entire career, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
Werden urged the court to sentence Guider separate from the prison term he is currently serving in Illinois, while Baxter pushed the judge to order the sentences to run concurrently.
Iowa District Associate Judge Joseph McCarville ultimately sided with prosecution and sentenced Guider to a separate prison term of up to five years, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
Officer McCarty had been on the force for four years prior to the incident.
He was off the job for about three months as a result of his injury, but it took him nearly a year to recover fully, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
The young officer acknowledged during the sentencing hearing that no one had trained him to step in front of a moving car to stop a suspect from fleeing.
“Each situation is different,” Officer McCarty testified. “It certainly didn’t play out the way I intended.”
Carroll Police Chief Brad Burke said the officer acted “in the heat of the moment” in an effort to apprehend the suspect – a move the chief described as “a lapse in judgement,” the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.
“This is a training point that is used for all the officers going forward from the incident,” Chief Burke added.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: