CHICKASHA, Okla. -Grady County Deputy Jim Peek had no idea the fight that was coming when he pulled over a vehicle into the Chickasha Taco Bell parking lot.
He made the traffic stop because the license plate was unreadable, covered with mud.
Peek spoke with the driver and passenger and then noticed a man in the back seat.
“He was fidgeting around so I asked him to step out and when he stepped out that’s when everything went off,” said Deputy Peek.
The man tried to run but Peek grabbed him and took him to the ground.
“I was able to take him to the ground and I was able to get on top of him and was holding him down but he kept struggling,” said Peek.
Peek says he felt a tug on his gun belt at least two times and feared the suspect was trying to get his weapon.
That’s when he yelled for help and two Taco Bell employees stepped up.
“If something’s happening you gotta do something. You can’t just stand back and watch it happen,” said Charles Bradley.
Bradley was working the night shift at Taco Bell.
He jumped in to help.
“He’s struggling. I can feel his pants ripping. I’ve got my hands around his waist. He tries to get my hands loose. And then I grab again,” said Bradley.
Deputy Peek asked the other employee to get his hand held radio and call for backup.
“He said he didn’t know what to say. I said just get on there and tell them where we’re at and tell them what’s going on and that I need some help,” said Peek.
Several minutes later, numerous officers flooded the parking lot and they were able to get James Hartline into custody.
Deputy Peek says he learned Hartline had only recently been released from prison, locked up for eluding officers.
“Hopefully he’ll learn from this lesson. This is his second time doing this with officers,” said Peek.
Peek said he only suffered minor injuries including a broken finger tip.
“This middle finger here. It’s still a little purple. But it’s not too bad. It could’ve been worse. I’m glad that’s all I came out with some bumps and scrapes,” said Peek.
And he’s grateful for the citizen help saying without it, he might have had to use deadly force on the suspect.
“I’m afraid to say that things would’ve escalated,” said Peek. “You sure don’t want it in the middle of town with innocent people standing around.”
“Wasn’t doing it for accolades,” said Bradley.
Bradley says he was glad to help out and after his brief stint as a cop, it was back to fast food.
“Rolled over, smoked a cigarette and went back to work,” said Bradley.
Hartline was booked into the Grady County jail on several charges including assault and battery on a police officer.