Zapped driver yanks out stun gun barbs, assaults cop, steals cruiser
SALEM, N.H. (AP) - An unruly driver zapped with a stun gun during a traffic stop yanked out the barbs, assaulted the officer and fled early Saturday, prompting a two-state pursuit that also led him to steal a police cruiser and threaten to shoot officers, authorities said.
The fracas began shortly after midnight in Salem, in southern New Hampshire, when Officer Adam Pearson pulled over 52-year-old Robert Zygarowski, of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, for a traffic stop. Police say Zygarowski was uncooperative so Pearson shocked him with the stun gun.
Police gave this account of what happened next:
Zygarowski pulled out the barbs, assaulted Pearson, then jumped in his car and sped away, beginning a chase that ended when his tire blew in Lawrence, Massachusetts. When Pearson ordered Zygarowski and two others out of the car, Zygarowski charged at the officer and fled in the marked cruiser.
Pearson detained the other two until officers from surrounding police departments arrived to give chase. They found the abandoned cruiser a short distance away with no damage and all of its contents still inside.
A short time later, a man matching Zygarowski's description walked into a gas station in Methuen, Massachusetts, said he had guns and was going to shoot officers, prompting the clerk to call police, authorities said. As police using dogs converged on the area, Zygarowski was spotted walking into and through the kitchen of an IHOP restaurant.
Police surrounded the area and found Zygarowski walking on a nearby trail, where another brief scuffled ensued.
Zygarowski was finally arrested and charged with assault, resisting arrest and other offenses. The other two people in the car were questioned and released without charges. One told police he repeatedly asked to be let out of the car Zygarowski was driving, authorities said.
Zygarowski refused the services of a bail commissioner and was taken to a county jail to await a Monday arraignment. He couldn't be reached for comment, and it wasn't immediately clear whether he had a lawyer.
Pearson had minor injuries. He was treated at a hospital and released.