Investigators in Columbia County say a police officer had no choice but to shoot a truck driver after that driver attacked him Monday night.
It happened during a traffic stop along Interstate 80 at the Buckhorn exit; now the truck driver remains hospitalized but is expected to live.
State police were on scene for hours on the off-ramp from east bound Interstate 80 at the Buckhorn exit Monday night after a police-involved shooting left the driver of a tractor trailer in the hospital with two gunshot wounds.
Now state police and the Columbia County District Attorney`s Office says Hemlock Township Police Officer Charles Dietterick had no choice but to shoot the driver who attacked him during a traffic stop.
Dietterick lives in a rural area near the interstate and his neighbors commended his bravery.
“I wouldn't want to have to do that job,” said neighbor Derl Kyle. “He`s been a good cop, a good neighbor, a good person, I guess that`s what counts and that`s what he is.”
Investigators say Dietterick stopped driver Dan Hadean of Oklahoma City around 9 Monday night for several violations, including a missing front bumper.
Officer Dietterick told Hadean his truck would be taken out of service and impounded.
Investigators say Hadean got upset and attacked Dietterick.
Dietterick tried to stop him with his stun gun; Hadean then sprayed the officer with pepper spray and hit him with a mallet.
That`s when they say Dietterick fired two shots at Hadean.
“[Dietterick] was already struck once, his eyes were blurry from the pepper spray, any kind of lethal strike with a hammer to his head could have rendered him incapable,” said Trooper David Peters with the Pennsylvania State Police.
State police searched Hadean's truck, pulling out pallets of fruit and some truck parts.
Now it will be up to the district attorney to decide what charges Hadean will face.
“The charges that could possibly be field are attempted homicide and aggravated assault and offenses related along those lines,” said State Police Lieutenant Robert Bartal.