Crime & Courts

2 men charged with attempted murder in injury of CMPD officer

Two Charlotte men face attempted murder and other charges after they allegedly dragged a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who had tried to stop them Tuesday afternoon.

The officer, Richard Starnes, suffered a broken leg, scrapes and bruises. He was released from the hospital Tuesday evening, police said.

Investigators said Chad Alexander Clay, 21, and Maurice Julian Clay, 20, have been charged in the case.

Police said Chad Clay was driving the Nissan that pulled Starnes through a busy north Charlotte intersection at West Sugar Creek Road and Reagan Drive about 12:45 p.m. Starnes’ leg was broken when it was run over by the car’s tire, police said.

Chad Clay was charged with attempted murder, felony hit and run, and driving while license revoked. Maurice Clay was charged with attempted murder. A third man in the car, identified as Antoine Johnson, 22, was arrested on an unrelated warrant for misdemeanor assault, police said.

Police said Starnes, a motorcycle officer, was helping another officer who had been flagged down by a woman who said she was assaulted. The woman pointed out a Nissan Sentra, which Starnes pulled over.

CMPD Major Jeff Estes said it wasn’t a felony traffic stop. “It wasn’t like guns out or anything.” he said.

During the stop, Estes said, “the person grabbed the officer’s arm.”

The car sped across the intersection, past the Brookwood Inn and toward the I-85 service road. The suspect released Starnes and the officer rolled to a stop.

Police officers stopped the suspect vehicle a short distance away on Interstate 85.

Jessica Niilend said the speeding car caught her attention as she stood in the parking lot of the motel.

“You could see the police officer just holding on,” Niilend said. “It wasn’t an accident. You could tell he was trying to let go of the window. He finally let him go around that second curve.”

The officer’s boot and sock came off, Niilend said. “He was just laying there. An ice cream truck pulled over to the side and the driver got out. I could see the officer waving his arms. One of them was skinned and burned.”

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