A man faces several charges after Asheville Police say he dragged an officer down the interstate while trying to escape a traffic stop.
Police said the incident happened Saturday just after midnight on I-240 West when officers pulled over a suspected drunk driver near the Charlotte Street exit.
The driver was uncooperative and unwilling to follow any instructions from the officer, who called for backup. That's when Ann Fowler, a 16-year department veteran and DWI Task Force member, arrived on the scene to assist, according to Sgt. Dave Romick.
Romick said 31-year-old Celso Avila-Aguilar continued to resist, and as officers tried to force him out of his vehicle, Avila-Aguilar grabbed Fowler's arm, pinned it to the steering wheel and started driving. The suspect dragged Fowler 130 feet down the interstate, Romick said, before she was finally able to pull her arm free and fell onto the interstate.
Fowler was able to avoid being hit by other vehicles until help arrived, Romick said. The other officer on scene called for an ambulance and radioed in a description of the fleeing vehicle.
Avila-Aguilar rammed into another Asheville police vehicle on the Capt. Jeff Bowen Bridge and continued west until the vehicle stalled out near Haywood Road due to damage from the crash with the patrol car, Romick said.
Avila-Aguilar was taken into custody and charged with second degree kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon on government official, assault with a deadly weapon serious injury, felony fleeing or eluding arrest, misdemeanor assault on government official, reckless driving, driving while impaired, and other charges.
Fowler was transported to the hospital where she was treated and released to continue recovering at home, Romick said.
Avila-Aguilar is being held in the Buncombe County Detention Facility on $100,000 bond.
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