CLEARFIELD – An Olanta man has been accused of fleeing from a traffic stop April 30 after assaulting a state trooper and trying to disarm him.
Dale E. Shaffer, 35, has been charged by Trooper Jared Wolff with felony aggravated assault, disarming a law enforcement officer and fleeing or attempting to elude an officer.
He has also been charged with misdemeanor endangering the welfare of children (two counts), simple assault and related offenses.
Shaffer had all charges held to county court following a preliminary hearing Wednesday before Magisterial District Judge James Glass at the Clearfield County Jail.
His bail remains set at $150,000 monetary not only due to the severity of the charges, but also his prior history of eluding the court system.
According to testimony from Clearfield-based Trooper Nicholas Wissinger, he was conducting routine patrol April 30 in Knox Township.
He attempted a traffic stop on a blue-colored Mazda sports utility vehicle after observing an expired inspection sticker. The vehicle’s Pennsylvania registration also came back to a Honda.
Wissinger pursued the SUV at a high rate along Zion and Clark roads until it turned down a dirt gas well road next to a trailer, located at 1935 Clark Rd.
Wissinger said the pursuit lasted about 15 minutes and accelerated to speeds over 70 miles per hour in a marked 35-miles-per-hour zone.
He said Shaffer also passed another vehicle in a curve and showed complete disregard to other traffic. After a natural barrier halted the pursuit, Shaffer got out of his SUV and fled on foot.
Wissinger ordered Shaffer to stop and tased him after he refused to comply. Shaffer fell to the ground but continued to resist being handcuffed and a scuffle ensued.
Wissinger testified that Shaffer got him in a tight headlock, and he felt as though he was going to pass out from Shaffer choking him.
He said Shaffer demanded that he surrender his duty weapon. When he refused, Wissinger said he felt Shaffer grabbing at his gun belt and trying to disarm him.
Wissinger said he rolled onto his side to restrict Shaffer’s access to his duty weapon with it being sandwiched between his body and the ground.
Once he heard sirens and knew help was coming, Wissinger told Shaffer to leave. He said Shaffer asked if he was going to “come after him,” and he told him no. Shaffer fled into the woods.
Wissinger said he was transported by ambulance to the Clearfield Penn Highlands Hospital. He was evaluated and diagnosed with a mild concussion.
Wolff said numerous troopers, including him, responded to the scene. He observed Shaffer’s SUV with the driver’s side door open, and Shaffer wasn’t anywhere to be found.
Another trooper alerted the others on-scene that two young children were in the rear passenger’s seat. Wolff found Shaffer’s wallet and driver’s license lying on the front passenger’s seat.
Wolff collected basic information and returned to the station to prepare an arrest warrant. He was later advised that Shaffer returned to the scene voluntarily but had to be guaranteed cigarettes and beer.
He said troopers impounded the SUV after suspected drugs were observed inside. He later obtained and executed a search warrant, which also turned up a loaded, semi-automatic pistol.
The pistol was located in the rear of the SUV and was imported to the United States. Wolff said investigators performed a check on the serial number and it didn’t come back to anyone.
Wolff said Shaffer admitted in an interview with another investigator that he got the best of the trooper during their scuffle and he tried to take his gun.
As part of the investigation, Wolff played the patrol unit’s mobile recording. He said Shaffer was heard, saying to Wissinger: “Do you want to die an [expletive] hero? Give me your gun.”