Intoxicated man charged for attacking trooper with needle

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SALT LAKE CITY -- When someone is impaired, his or her actions can be unpredictable. No one knows this more than law enforcement officers.

When one Utah Highway Patrol trooper tested a suspected drunk driver, she says he tried to stab her with the needle used for the blood test. The incident happened on April 3, but the driver was criminally charged this week.

It started as a regular traffic stop. But after speaking with the driver, the trooper says she smelled alcohol.

"People that are impaired, whether it's on alcohol or controlled substance, it's hard to be able to tell what reaction you're going to get from these people." Sgt. Rob Nixon, UHP

The trooper's dash cam video shows her give the driver, Spencer Hancock, several sobriety tests, then a lot of what happens next is just out of the camera's view. Hancock refuses to consent to a blood and urine test.

"No. I don't want to take the tests," Hancock says.

The trooper calls a judge and gets a warrant approved, then attempts to draw Hancock's blood, which he's not happy about.

"The pain is over! Don't move!" the trooper tells Hancock. "If you pull out, you're going to get poked again; so don't move!"

"Ow! Ow!" Hancock yells.

"You're pulling away!" the trooper says.

"I know you've got a needle in my arm!" Hancock says.

The trooper continues with the blood draw, and Hancock continues to put up a fight. Then troopers say Hancock pulled the needle out of his arm, tried to stab the trooper with it, then made a run for it.

UHP says Hancock also tried to deploy the trooper's Taser after she tased him.

"People that are impaired, whether it's on alcohol or controlled substance, it's hard to be able to tell what reaction you're going to get from these people," says UHP Sgt. Rob Nixon.

Hancock was charged with attempted aggravated assault and escape -- both third-degree felonies -- as well as multiple misdemeanor charges.

Nixon says the moral of this story, besides not drinking and driving: "If you cooperate, things go much smoother, much easier for you and us."

It took several troopers to hold Hancock down while his blood was drawn. The tests came back positive for alcohol and cocaine. Troopers also found drug paraphernalia in his vehicle.

UHP says its grateful the trooper involved in Hancock's arrest had some fast reflexes.


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Jennifer Stagg


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