Friday, April 13, 2012

TOP STORY >> Driver may have struck Ohio officer

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville man accused of driving a van around emergency vehicles that killed a veteran firefighter and injured two others last month may have hit an Ohio police officer with a different car in October.

Bryce Allen, 47, is a person of interest in a felony assault case in Columbus.

According to the police report, a man matching his description got into an argument with a valet at a hospital. The valet called a security guard. Kenny Boyd of the Jacksonville Police Department said the guard was an off-duty policeman.

According to the report, the guard tried to stop the man while he was in his vehicle. Then the man intentionally struck the guard with the black 2000 Cadillac he was driving.

The guard, who sustained a minor injury, fired his gun at the car, which had Arkansas tags 356RIW.

The Cadillac is or was owned by Allen, according to Jacksonville police.

They are asking that anyone who has information about where the car is to call 982-3191 or text JAXPD and their tip to CRIMES, 274637.

Boyd said the department has been in touch with Ohio investigators since last month’s incident.

He said if the car is found and Allen is arrested for the October felony assault then prosecuting attorneys here and in Ohio would have to work out how to try both cases.

Allen is charged with second-degree murder and criminal attempt to commit murder here.

One of the firefighters he struck, Capt. Donald Jones, 56, a 31-year-veteran of the department, died at the scene.

Firefighter/engineer Jason Bowmaster and police officer Daniel DiMatteo were seriously injured but in stable condition the next day.

Bowmaster was finally taken off a ventilator this week, Capt. David Jones of the fire department said Friday.

“He’s still in guarded condition,” Jones said.

Capt. Kenny Boyd of the police department said, “They are both recovering. They still have a long way to go.”

DiMatteo needs at least one more procedure and then he’ll start rehabilitation, he said.

Thelma Allen, Bryce Allen’s mother, had struck a gas line at 8411 Hwy. 161 between Rixey Road and I-440.

The three victims were working the scene of her accident when Allen arrived. Allen’s mother was not injured.

The police department said their investigation showed that he made no attempt to brake and even accelerated before hitting them. He also appeared to be aiming toward them, the report says.

Allen is being held at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility on a $750,000 bond. If he pays that, he will be transported to the State Hospital.

An Army veteran, he was arrested in 2009 for second-degree battery of a police officer and terroristic threatening. According to court records, Allen was acquitted by reason of mental disease or defect.

He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, hallucinations and delusions. Allen’s evaluation said he did not take medications as prescribed.

Some of the delusions included paranoia involving the Ku Klux Klan. All three Jacksonville victims and the Ohio officer were white men.

Allen told a psychologist who examined him in 2010 that he had been hospitalized eight times, mostly at Fort Roots Veterans Hospital in North Little Rock.

He was arrested again in September for fleeing and reckless driving. Allen was found guilty in Jacksonville District Court in February but appealed the decision to Pulaski County Circuit Court.

He was arrested for a third time last November for aggravated assault, but that charge was reduced to third-degree domestic battery.