A Lawrenceburg utility worker came to the aid of a St. Joseph police officer fighting a combative suspect in the street.
It happened Wednesday afternoon in St. Joseph in southern Lawrence County.
The motorist was unhappy with his speeding ticket, and things quickly turned physical.
Officer Colton Steadman was traveling southbound on Highway 4 following a small silver SUV that was speeding.
The officer says he paced the vehicle and clocked it over the posted limit.
“I was following the vehicle he was doing 62 in a 45.”
Officer Steadman stopped the vehicle he says the Alabama driver was not cooperative from the start.
“He was agitated right from the beginning, didn’t want to give me his license, registration or insurance.”
The man behind the wheel was Rodney Cleveland, who was not happy about the citation and says he was not speeding.
“He was adamant about not signing the citation.”
Steadman is an officer of three years. He says the Alabama motorist refused to accept the $173 citation and refused to sign the ticket, which is mandated by state law.
“I gave him three opportunities. Once he wouldn’t sign the ticket, I asked him to step out and he did.”
According to officer Steadman, Cleveland became combative as the officer attempted to put on handcuffs. Cleveland has five inches and 50 pounds on the smaller officer.
“I placed my hand on his back and put him against the car and went to cuff him and we began to fight. He’s six foot 200 and I’m five foot, seven 150 it was a handful.”
It’s about this time that a lineman with Lawrenceburg utility systems drove up on the fight in the road. Without hesitation, the lineman with close to 20 years’ experience hopped out of his work truck and rushed to the officer’s aid.
“He assisted in a handcuffing him and was able to get my cuffs and assisted in that,” said Officer Steadman.
When asked what might happen if the worker hadn’t stopped when he did, the officer says things could have taken a more violent turn.
“More marks and you have to worry about traffic coming by and you never know when you might get hit. I am thankful he came by.”
Lee Boyd is Communications Director for the Lawrenceburg Utility Systems. Boyd has known the utility worker for decades and says he’s not surprised this long-time employee came to the officer’s aid.
“He is the example of what you want in an employee I’ll tell you that,” said Boyd. “He saw him in need and I bet he didn’t think about it. Hopped out and did what he had to do to help him out.”
When reminded that not everyone would stop, the officer said this; “It speaks volume on his character and the kind of man he is.”
Instead of signing the ticket and later contesting the $173 citation, Cleveland was charged with resisting arrest and taken to jail, where he posted a $10,000 bond. He is due back in court on May 21.
The officer told News 2, on the way to the jail, Cleveland apologized for his actions.