HEMLOCK TOWNSHIP --The Columbia County District Attorney now says a police officer was justified in shooting a truck driver late last night. State police say the driver assaulted a Hemlock Township police officer right on an interstate 80 exit, leading the officer to shoot him, twice.
The district attorney says Hemlock Township police officer Charles Dietterick was justified when he shot a truck driver from Oklahoma City. It happened last night when Dietterick pulled the rig over near the Buckhorn exit off Interstate 80 and police say the truck driver put up a fight.
Tires and several pallets sat in the trailer while state police searched the rig belonging to Dan Hadean. He's the truck driver from Oklahoma City who was shot last night during a fight with a Hemlock Township police officer.
State police say the situation started after nine last night, when officer Charles Dietterick stopped Hadean's tractor-trailer on the eastbound interstate 80 off-ramp at the Buckhorn exit. Troopers said the rig had several violations including a missing front bumper. When Hadean was told the truck was going to be towed. Officials say he got upset and ran back toward the truck. The officer tried to stop him by using a stun gun. Troopers say the trucker then sprayed the officer in the face with pepper spray. He then took out a hammer.
“He was attempting to retreat and giving commands and was then struck in the hand with a mallet type hammer by Mr. Hadean knocking the Taser from his hand.” said Trooper David Peters.
State police tell us the officer, backed away from Hadean even after he was attacked twice. He crossed over the exit ramp before he took the shots.
“Based off of that I would think the officer used his fire arm to try and protect himself.” said Trooper David Peters.
Truck drivers Newswatch 16 spoke with at a rest stop near Danville say Hadean shouldn't have been carrying pepper spray. They call his reaction to the officer suspicious.
“The way it sounds to me, he was trying to hide something and get away with it. It`s inexcusable right there. That officer is out there doing his job. If he was doing his job right there wouldn't have had that problem to begin with.” said Jason Thomas, New York.
State police say the truck appeared to be hauling fruit. There's no word on what the search of the rig turned up. As for the driver, he is still at the hospital tonight but authorities say he is expected to recover. The district attorney is still deciding on charges.