Driver convicted for chase that injured deputies
A 44-year-old man who led police on a chase in White City in May that left two sheriff's deputies injured and two patrol cars destroyed was found guilty Wednesday on felony assault charges.
A jury convicted Nathan Lynn Ramey on charges of attempted first-degree assault and second-degree assault after he rammed two patrol cars with his pickup during a pursuit on Highway 62 on May 7.
Jackson County Chief Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert and Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz will decide soon if they will ask that Ramey's sentences run consecutively, which could put him in jail for nearly a decade.
The sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 22, Ramey's birthday.
"The deputies in this case did a great job using their training to ensure (Ramey) did not continue on Highway 62 in a reckless manner that could have left innocent people gravely injured," Jackson County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan said.
The chaos in White City that night began when Deputy Ryan Groom stopped Ramey's pickup on Highway 62. Groom said Ramey was driving erratically when he pulled him over.
"I was outside my patrol car when (Ramey) put his pickup in reverse and slammed into my car," Groom said. "I had to jump into a lane of traffic to get out of the way."
Ramey then sped off, with Groom in pursuit. The chase led to Gramercy Drive, where Ramey once again backed his truck into Groom's patrol car.
Finally, Ramey drove into the parking lot behind the White City Abby's Pizza, during which time Groom attempted a "PIT" maneuver on the out-of-control truck.
The PIT maneuver, an acronym for pursuit immobilization technique, involves the officer using his vehicle to nudge the rear of a fleeing car, causing it to spin out and leave the road.
The maneuver worked, but unfortunately left Ramey's pickup facing a patrol car driven by Deputy Heath Kocina.
Ramey hit the gas and plowed head-on into Kocina's car. Kocina estimated the truck rammed him at 30 mph.
"The impact left me with strains in my lower back muscles and a burn on my arm from the air bag being deployed," Kocina said.
The deputy still has scars caused by the air bag deploying and scraping his forearm. The crash caused him to miss work and put him on light duty for a week.
Groom used his patrol car to pin Ramey's truck against Kocina's wrecked cruiser, which ended the chase.
The pursuit and Ramey's subsequent arrest on May 7 came at the end of a bad day for him. That morning he was convicted of fourth-degree assault and was sentenced to 11 months probation. The charge stemmed from a domestic violence incident in November 2008, according to Jackson County Circuit Court records.
Fagan and the deputies praised the work of Heckert and Markiewicz for working closely with sheriff's lead investigator Detective Tim Snaith in bringing a conviction in the case.
"Too often, police officers are assaulted on the job and nothing is done about it," Fagan said. "The district attorney's office should be commended for its efforts in this case."
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.