03/22/14 — Mount Olive police officer injured in line of duty

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Mount Olive police officer injured in line of duty

By Nelson Bland
Published in News on March 22, 2014 11:27 PM

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Ian Dillard

MOUNT OLIVE -- A Mount Olive police officer was injured when he was dragged by a van he had stopped for a traffic violation, according to Chief of Police Brian Rhodes.

The incident occurred March 16 at the intersection of N.C. 55 East and North Church Street.

And the way that the officer, Ian J. Dillard, 25, parked his patrol car at an angle behind the van stopped the van and prevented Dillard from being pulled under it, Rhodes said.

Dillard suffered abrasions in the incident and was assisted at the scene by EMS paramedics.

"But he could have suffered more serious injuries if he had not parked his patrol car at an angle behind the van as police are taught," Rhodes said. "That kept the van from going farther and his legs from being pulled under the van."

Rhodes said that angle parking of a police car behind a suspect vehicle is designed so that an officer can get behind the patrol car's engine block in case of a shooting.

But in Dillard's incident, it kept the van confined to a short distance before it struck the patrol car, Rhodes said.

The driver of the van, Jose Mareano, 37, who had no identification and whose address was listed on the arrest report as "unknown," was booked on multiple charges.

Mareano was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, DWI, damage to government property, possession of an open container of alcohol, no operator's license, driving on the wrong side of the road, failure to stop for a police blue light and siren and resisting, obstructing and delaying a police officer.

Dillard's police vehicle, his service pistol, a Taser gun, police badge and holder and pepper spray with holder were damaged in the incident, Rhodes said.

An estimate of damages was not available.

Mareano was jailed under a $37,000 bond at the Wayne County Jail in Goldsboro.

Dillard said he was observing traffic on N.C. 55 east when he noticed the suspect vehicle traveling the wrong way on the road in the eastbound lane of travel.

Dillard said he saw the suspect vehicle "jump across the asphalt median" and continue traveling the wrong way on North Church Street.

Dillard said that he turned on his blue light and siren in an attempt stop the van, but it did not stop immediately. He said he "was eventually was able to stop the suspect vehicle at Wil-Mar Trailer Park" on North Church Street.

After "loudly giving multiple commands (to Mareano) to put the vehicle in park, (Mareano), clearly impaired, failed to comply," according to Dillard.

Dillard said Mareano finally moved the gear shift from drive, but did not place it in park and instead put it in reverse.

Dillard said that while he was attempting to "assist (Mareano) out of the vehicle, (Mareano) hit the gas pedal."

Dillard added, "At the same time I attempted to press the brake pedal in order to prevent me from getting run over."

According to Dillard, Mareano then "hit the accelerator" causing the van to back up and resulting in Dillard being knocked to the pavement and dragged.

Dillard noted that Mareano continued to accelerate the van dragging him "at least 10 feet on the asphalt" before Mareano's van struck Dillard's police car.

According to Dillard, at that point he "was able to extract (Mareano) out of the vehicle and place him under arrest," according to the report.

Rhodes said a man from Kenansville who was passing the area stopped to assist Dillard in placing Mareano, who was not complying with police orders, in handcuffs.

"We would like to express thanks to the citizen who stopped to assist our officer," Rhodes said. "We really appreciate that."

Two other police officers also arrived on the scene and "helped gain control of the suspect," according to Rhodes.