MOOREFIELD, W.Va. — A traffic stop back on Sunday night in Moorefield turned into a much bigger incident. A Moorefield Police Officer conducted the traffic stop in the parking lot of the local Sheetz convenience store.
“Subsequent to the traffic stop a question arose involving a narcotics possession which led to the arrest of the driver,” said Moorefield Police Chief Steven Reckart. “During the arrest process, the suspect became combative and non-compliant with the arresting officer. The arresting officer of the Moorefield Police Department and a West Virginia State Trooper were able to regain control at the scene momentarily, but the driver managed to escape and flee on foot.”
The driver is identified as Tyler Riggleman, 26, of Moorefield.
While the arrest unfolded, Kelly Kipp went inside the store and started to record video of the incident. He told a different story.
“The officer and the driver were wrestling around on the ground,” he said. “When I got in the store, I started to record and the suspect is on the ground holding the dog to stop him from biting him.”
Kipp claimed the Moorefield officer released her K-9 on Riggleman and his video begins as the officer pulls the dog away. The trooper took control of Riggleman while the Moorefield officer, with her gun drawn, ordered one of the two passengers in the vehicle to sit on the ground in front of her cruiser.
Around the same time, Riggleman made his escape on foot and the dog was released a second time, only this time according to Kipp, the dog attacked the trooper instead of the suspect. Moorefield police had no ‘t comment on the dog’s action. Kipp’s video didn’t show the trooper being attacked by the dog nor did it show what happened next.
“She gets the dog off the state trooper, gets the dog back in the vehicle, gets in the vehicle and I could not believe what I was seeing,” said Kipp. “She ran right up over the top of his (passenger) right shoulder, arm, and up around the side of his neck and face. I thought, ‘Oh my God she just killed him.'”
“They had been placed in a prone position on the ground,” said Reckart. “When the driver fled, an officer jumped in the vehicle and attempted to pursue the fleeing suspect. She misjudged and ran over his arm.”
Reckart declined to identify the passenger who was run over. MetroNews has learned from Jerry Riggleman, the father of Tyler Riggleman, the victim is Jason Fellows, 31, who lives with the elder Riggleman. Fellows was reportedly treated and released with a broken finger and injuries to his arm.
Mr. Riggleman claime the family found his son the following morning still handcuffed and passed out along the railroad track nearby.
“About 5:30 or 6 o’clock the next morning about half froze to death,” Riggleman said. “He had a pair of pants, no shoes, no shirt,and a pair of handcuffs behind his back.”
Riggleman claimed his son has had run ins with local law enforcement before, including an incident two years ago in which he claimed his son was attacked by a police dog while handcuffed.
“Since then, they have aggravated this kid and harassed him,” Riggleman said. “He said, ‘Dad they weren’t going to put that dog on me again.”
Tyler Riggleman faced felony and misdemeanor charges from the incident. Reckart said he remained at large. The elder Riggleman said his son planned to turn himself in after finding an attorney to help him through the legal process.
The officer remained on active duty, according to Reckart, but as of Wednesday was on her regular days off.
“We are working it right now, doing an internal as well as a criminal investigation,” said Reckart.