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Police: Man tried to stab officer with heroin needle

A 63-year-old man faces multiple charges after he allegedly tried to stab a Medford police officer with a heroin needle during a DUII arrest.

Burkell Arthur Kelley of the 3600 block of South Pacific Highway between Medford and Phoenix was charged with attempted second-degree assault, unlawful possession of heroin, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person and resisting arrest.

On April 10, Kelley was allegedly seen by another driver and the Medford police officer — who was off-duty at the time — sitting at a green light but not driving forward in his vehicle.

When Kelley began driving away, the police officer followed him. Kelley allegedly struck the curb multiple times while driving and was unable to stay in his lane. He then allegedly stopped again at a green light and sat through two cycles of light changes, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by police.

The officer approached Kelley's vehicle and allegedly saw a loaded syringe and a spoon. The officer reached in through the open window and turned the vehicle key to stop Kelley from driving away again. The officer identified himself as a policeman and said more officers were on the way, the affidavit said.

Kelley allegedly tried to start the vehicle and drive away, but the officer stopped him. The officer allegedly tried to remove him from the vehicle, but Kelley fought back. An on-duty officer arrived and also tried to pull Kelley from the vehicle.

During the encounter, Kelley allegedly grabbed the fully loaded syringe from the center console area and aimed it at the off-duty officer's arm. Kelley allegedly dropped the syringe after being stunned with a Taser. The officers were able to pull him from the vehicle, but Kelley allegedly continued to fight while being taken into custody, the affidavit said.

The contents of the syringe were tested and were allegedly confirmed to be heroin, the affidavit said.

Kelley allegedly exhibited numerous signs of impairment — including slurred speech, loss of manual dexterity and an inability to keep his eyes open — and refused to submit to standard field sobriety tests, the affidavit said.

The case is pending in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Kelley was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $50,000 bail but was later released on his own recognizance, court records show.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.