Man who broke cop’s back while fleeing sentenced to 5 years in prison
An Illinois man will soon be serving time in an Iowa prison in relation to his actions during an encounter with police in a 2021 incident that left one officer seriously injured with a broken back.
Dennis Guider Jr. was sentenced to up to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the felony crime of causing serious injury by a vehicle, Fox News reported.
The officer who was injured in the March 5, 2021 incident, was Patrick McCarty of the Carroll Police Department in Iowa, who attempted to stop Guider from fleeing by climbing on the hood of the vehicle he was driving but suffered a broken back when he was thrown from atop the car after it hit a ditch at high speed.
Officer Climbed On Vehicle, Suffered Broken Back When Thrown Off During Pursuit
The Iowa Capitol Dispatch reported that Guider, 29, of Chicago Heights, Illinois, entered into a plea agreement earlier this year that had him plead guilty to the felony charge of serious injury by vehicle in exchange for the dismissal of a second felony charge for eluding, and was sentenced this week to serve up to five years in prison.
The incident occurred on the afternoon of March 5, 2021, when Guider was spotted as a passenger in a vehicle in a restaurant drive-thru and was identified as being wanted on a warrant out of Illinois and was informed that he would be placed under arrest by Officer McCarty.
Bodycam footage showed that rather than exit the vehicle as he had been instructed to do, Guider pushed the woman in the driver's seat out of the car and slid behind the wheel himself to make an escape. At that point, McCarty moved in front of the vehicle with his gun drawn to force Guider to stop.
Guider proceeded to drive forward slowly anyway and McCarty stepped up onto the hood before transitioning to the roof of the car as it accelerated to speeds of 50-60 mph before hitting a ditch and sending McCarty flying through the air and landing in the ditch, where he suffered broken vertebrae in his lower back.
The wanted suspect drove a bit further before abandoning the damaged vehicle and stealing another that he used to fully escape the scene and flee back to Illinois, where both he and the stolen vehicle were located by local police.
Bodycam Footage Reveals Differing Accounts of Incident
According to the Dispatch, Officer McCarty was out of work for around three months with his injury, and took about a year to fully recover.
Bodycam footage of the incident from McCarty and other involved officers was only released as part of the recent legal proceedings and appeared to highlight some discrepancies in the accounts of the incident, as McCarty had claimed the vehicle's quick acceleration forced him onto the hood while the videos showed he willingly stepped onto the hood while the car was still moving slowly.
The court-appointed defense attorney for Guider, Joel Baxter, argued in court for leniency on account of the fact that McCarty violated protocol and training by getting onto the vehicle, and Carroll Police Chief Brad Burke acknowledged that McCarty "in the heat of the moment made a lapse in judgment in an attempt to apprehend the suspect," but that the incident was now being used in training as an example of what not to do.
Baxter, who also claimed that Guider feared for his life because he is black and McCarty is white, asked the court for his sentence to run concurrently with time that his client was already serving in an Illinois prison for a separate conviction.
That request was rejected by District Associate Judge Joseph McCarville, however, who acknowledged that McCarty should have acted differently but still faulted Guider for his criminal actions and ordered him to serve a separate sentence in an Iowa prison.
Will Serve Sentence in Iowa Following Completion of Sentence in Illinois
The Carroll Times Herald reported that at the time of the 2021 incident, Guider had been wanted in Illinois for violating parole following his 2019 early release from a six-year sentence for burglary and fraud.
According to Iowa's Carroll County Broadcasting, Guider was extradited from Illinois to Iowa earlier this year to face justice but will now be returned to Illinois to serve out the remainder of his sentence there, which is set to be complete in April 2024.
Once he is discharged from the Illinois prison he will be sent back to Iowa to begin serving his five-year sentence for the 2021 incident that left McCarty injured.
The Dispatch noted that Guider has offered multiple apologies to McCarty and others for his actions and has claimed that he is now a reformed man.