Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

In 2001, man allegedly dragged police officer

by Rob Ireland

August 09, 2012

ELKHORN — A Texas inmate, who is serving a 30-year sentence for stabbing a cop in the throat, will face felony charges in Walworth County for a 2001 incident where he allegedly dragged a Darien police officer 40 feet with his car.

In 2001, David R. Puckett, 28, was charged in Walworth County with first-degree recklessly endangering safety, battery to a law enforcement officer and battery to law enforcement.

If convicted, he faces 30 years in prison and $30,000 in fines.

Since the charges were filed in 2001, Puckett hasn’t appeared and nothing has occurred at the local courthouse. However, on Aug. 1, 2012, Puckett faced the charges for the first time while appearing over a video monitor from Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.

Puckett is next scheduled for an Aug. 1 preliminary hearing.

National headlines

Puckett made national headlines in 2011 for escaping from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Stiles Unit in Beaumont, Texas.

He was eventually apprehended in Omaha, Neb. Before his arrest, local police were on the lookout for Puckett, who was originally from Darien.

At the time, Capt. Kevin Williams said Puckett is “considered quite dangerous, especially toward law enforcement.”

Puckett was able to escape from the Texas maximum security prison by sawing through the bars on the roof of a small recreation yard. He scaled down a 15-foot fence covered in razor wire, stole a van and left Houston, according to media reports.

In Houston, Puckett attempted to receive medical attention for the injuries he suffered during his escape. However, he left a hospital after spotting law enforcement. In Houston, he boarded a Greyhound bus and rode to Nebraska. He was found in the apartment of a woman who had been wiring him money.

The Texas incident was allegedly not the first time Puckett escaped from a correctional facility. In July 2001, Puckett was charged with escaping from a child correctional facility, in Waukesha. However, those charges were dismissed after his sentence in Texas.

According to the Walworth County court documents:

On May 26, 2001, at about 4:55 a.m., the Walworth County Dispatch received a complaint of a missing juvenile. While at the home of the juvenile, a then 14-year-old boy, police received a tip that the boy was with Puckett, who had taken his mother’s car and was heading to Monroe.

Later that day the boy returned home.

On June 21, 2001, at about 11:45 a.m., a police officer received a report that Puckett had been driving a red Chrysler. The officer spotted the vehicle at a gas station and parked at an angle in front of the vehicle.

When the officer saw Puckett, he ordered him to stop, but Puckett moved toward the driver’s side door of the running vehicle.

Puckett entered the car and the officer leaned in and attempted to removed the keys from the ignition. However, Puckett accelerated the vehicle, which caused the officer to fall to the ground. After falling, the officer was dragged by the vehicle for about 40 feet into the center lane of traffic on Highway 14.

While being dragged, the officer reported that Puckett was accelerating so rapidly that the back tires were spinning and smoking.

When the officer was able to free himself from the vehicle, his ankle was run over by the vehicle.

At Lakeland Medical Center the officer was treated for a large abrasion on his left forearm and abrasions on both knees.