Man who allegedly dragged officer with car is now in jail; prosecutors say it was not first time he fled police
A man wanted for allegedly dragging a Lawrence police officer with a car last year is now in custody in Douglas County.
Aramis N. Hernandez, 37, of Topeka, was booked into the Douglas County jail Monday evening, according to jail records.
A warrant for his arrest had been out since July 6, 2016, according to Douglas County District Court records.
Hernandez is charged with one count of aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer, a felony, for allegedly using a motor vehicle to cause bodily harm to the officer, according to charges, made public this week after his arrest.
Hernandez made his first court appearance in the case on Tuesday, and attorney Branden Smith was appointed to represent him, according to court records.
Bond for Hernandez was set at $200,000.
“Even with court supervision, the defendant continues to violate the law, and his crime spree in Lawrence is escalating to the point of injuring a Lawrence police officer,” prosecutors wrote in a request for the high bond at the time charges were filed. “The defendant has demonstrated through his conduct that he is a danger to the community and a flight risk.”
About 4:45 p.m. July 5, 2016, the police officer pulled over a white Ford Fusion in the 1100 block of Rhode Island Street, according to prosecutors’ 2016 motion to revoke Hernandez’s bond in multiple past court cases.
The driver told the officer he was on his way to court but refused to give the officer his driver’s license or identify himself, according to the document. Eventually the driver drove away while the officer was “engaged,” causing the officer to be dragged by the vehicle “for a distance,” the document said.
The car was a rental, rented to Hernandez’s girlfriend, the document said.
The officer was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for nonlife-threatening injuries, police said at the time.
Hernandez already was on bond — and had failed to appear in court — for similar cases. According to prosecutors:
In November 2014, an officer saw Hernandez driving on the wrong side of the street near Eighth and Vermont streets. Hernandez led the officer on a car chase that involved speeding, weaving and running a stop sign before ending in a “high risk traffic stop.” Hernandez was charged with DUI, possession of marijuana, fleeing police and other crimes.
In June 2015, Hernandez was driving without his required ignition interlock device when he was involved in an accident on Interstate 70. He was charged with DUI, possession of marijuana and tampering with the interlock device.
In July 2015, a Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a brand-new baby blue Ford Mustang, from which an “overwhelming smell” of marijuana emanated. The deputy discovered that the driver, Hernandez, had a federal warrant for his arrest. As a back-up deputy was arriving, Hernandez took off, leading law enforcement on a chase that reached 130 mph before being called off “because of the threat to public safety.” Hernandez was charged with fleeing police and speeding.
Prosecutors also said in court documents that Hernandez had prior felony cases for fleeing police in Shawnee County and robbery in Sedgwick County.
After Hernandez allegedly fled the scene after dragging and injuring the Lawrence police officer near 11th and Rhode Island streets in 2016, Lawrence police put out a plea for the public’s help in locating Hernandez.
Hernandez was in custody at a correctional facility in Colorado prior to being transported to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for his warrants here, said Sgt. Kristen Channel of the sheriff’s office.