Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Cop recuperates as driver denies guilt

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — A 21-year-old local man accused of backing his car into a police officer twice Sunday night pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder and other charges.

        At the time of his arrest, J.C. Arnold was wearing an electronic monitoring device and was on parole for second-degree robbery, Kentucky Department of Corrections officials said.

        Meanwhile, Covington Officer Robert Auton, 25, recuperated at home Monday, after treatment at University Hospital for injuries to his ribs, left side, knee and hand, authorities said.

        “He's sore all over, mainly on his left side, and he has muscle spasms in his back,” said Lt. Col. Jim Liles, spokesman for the Covington Police Department.

        Officer Auton was knocked 10 feet into the air when Mr. Arnold allegedly backed his car into the officer at Eighth and Dalton streets in Covington at 9:30 p.m. Officers said they earlier had spotted Mr. Arnold driving recklessly and going the wrong way down a one-way street. They pursued him through the streets, blocking his vehicle at Eighth and Dalton.

        Mr. Arnold pleaded not guilty Monday in Kenton District Court to charges of attempted murder, second-degree assault, reckless driving and first-degree fleeing and evading police. He is being held in Kenton County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

        If convicted on all charges, he could face a maximum of 45 years in prison.

        Mr. Arnold was driving on a suspended license Sunday night, police said. Court records showed he also had served time in 1998 for assaulting a corrections employee, and he had previously been convicted of disorderly conduct, terroristic threatening and robbery.

        Lt. Col. Liles said he doesn't know when Officer Auton will return to active duty.


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