Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2012, 8:53 pm
Savanna officer justified in shooting Kansas woman after driving over her husband
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By Rachel Warmke, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Savanna police officer was justified in shooting a Kansas woman after she drove over her husband with a vehicle during an Oct. 24 traffic stop outside Savanna, according to an investigation.
Carroll County State's Attorney Scott Brinkmeier said on Tuesday that Savanna Police Officer Jacob Stillings had legitimate reason to shoot Allana D. Hill, 21, in the elbow, according to Master Sgt. Chris Endress, of the Illinois State Police. Officer Stillings returned to work on Nov. 20 after being placed on routine administrative leave.
Mrs. Hill sustained a non-life-threatening bullet wound and has since been charged in Carroll County with felony counts of aggravated battery to a peace officer, aggravated reckless driving, aggravated battery using a deadly weapon, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and aggravated fleeing and attempting to elude, an ISP news release indicated.
Her husband,Kevin Belgarde, 41, of Kansas, has not been charged at this time and remains hospitalized in a rehabilitation facility with serious injuries and numerous broken bones.
"He is lucky to be alive," said Sgt. Endress on Wednesday. "And had Officer Stillings not looked back and seen the vehicle swerve in his direction, it's likely Officer Stillings would have been gravely injured himself, if not killed."
Officers at the scene also discovered the couple's two-week-old daughter, uninjured and lying on the floor of their vehicle, the sergeant said. The infant was placed in the custody of State of Iowa Human Services.
The Oct. 24 incident began about 3 a.m. when Officer Stillings stopped a Jeep Cherokee traveling on Route 84, south of Savanna, for speeding. The occupants of the vehicle, Mrs. Hill and Mr. Belgarde, began to physically fight with the officer, and Officer Stillings eventually tasered the pair to defend himself, Sgt. Endress said.
The officer was in the process of arresting Mr. Belgarde when Mrs. Hill fled the scene in her vehicle.
She returned a short while later and Sgt. Endress said,"she attempted to run over Officer Stillings and did in fact run over her husband, Mr. Belgarde."
Officer Stillings fired his gun in the direction of the vehicle and Mrs. Hill was shot in the elbow, Sgt. Endress said. She continued to flee in the vehicle for several miles before driving through cornfields and crashing into a house.
Residents called 911, and responding officers arrested Mrs. Hill, who was transported, alongside her husband and child, to Clinton Iowa Hospital.
The incident was captured on video by a squad car camera, said Sgt. Endress, and Officer Stillings, who was not injured in the incident, was placed on temporary administrative leave -- standard procedure for many police departments pending an investigation, the sergeant said.
"Whenever there is an officer-involved shooting, an outside agency is asked to look into not only what events occurred, but to investigate the officer's actions to make sure he or she was justified in the use of deadly force," said Sgt. Endress.
The ISP conducted an investigation into the Oct. 24 incident, before turning over their findings to the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office.