A newspaper delivery man didn't think twice about jumping onto a suspect whom he saw striking a Franklin County Sheriff's officer early Sunday morning.
Dennie Peterson, of Baldwin, hopped out of his car at 2:30 a.m. when he saw the officer and the suspect locked in a tussle on the side of Riley Road near U.S. Highway 59.
"This is kind of a shock. It was almost like watching something on 'Cops.' It was. It was wild. I didn't want anybody to get hurt," Peterson said.
He and his wife, Catherine, have delivered the Journal-World to rural areas in Douglas and Franklin counties for the last year-and-a-half.
Sunday morning, he was driving east on Riley Road and passed an officer talking with a man, and then saw the man run away. When the officer caught up with him, they wrestled, and the suspect then started punching the officer, Peterson said.
Peterson ran from 50 feet away and tackled the suspect. He and the officer tried to hold the suspect down. It eventually took two more sheriff's officers to arrive and arrest the suspect.
"I think (Peterson's help) made a lot of difference," said Lt. Jimmie Dean, a sheriff spokesman. "It could have been very serious for the officer. He said that his energy was down. He couldn't hardly give anything to that point. It's nice that we have citizens that help us out."
Dean declined to name the officer. He said the suspect, Jason Houston, 20, Ottawa, was pulled over for a speeding violation. He also had a warrant out for his arrest from Ottawa Municipal Court.
Houston, who is accused of biting the officer on the arm, received treatment for pepper spray in his eyes.
He was arrested on charges of aggravated battery and battery of an officer, felony obstruction, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, driving under the influence, having an open container of alcohol, improper driving on a lane road, speeding and failing to yield for an emergency vehicle. A spokeswoman with the Franklin County Atty. said Monday that Houston was still in custody.
Dean says Peterson will receive some recognition from the sheriff's department. The situation could have been dangerous, but the suspect was unarmed, Dean said, and officers were grateful that Peterson assisted.
"I'm looking out for my community. Those are my officers out there protecting me," Peterson said.