Hartford Officer Injured In Struggle With Impaired Driver

Police Officers Eric Clifford and Fred Peyton were released from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center earlier this morning after being treated each for a concussion and abrasions after struggling with a man found to be driving while impaired.

At approximately 11:35pm, Hartford Police Officer Eric Clifford stopped a Subaru Forester for traveling 63mph in a posted 45mph zone along Route 4 near Center of Town Road.  While speaking with the vehicle’s driver, later identified as 19 year old Mason Thompson of Woodstock, Officer Clifford became concerned that Thompson was driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  Following additional investigation through standardized field sobriety testing, Officer Clifford arrested Thompson and attempted to place him in handcuffs.

However, Thompson resisted, pushing away from Officer Clifford and Sergeant Connie Kelley who’d arrived to assist with the late night arrest.  During the struggle, Sergeant Kelley’s eyeglasses were knocked to the ground as the man struggled to break free, before being stopped by Officer Peyton as the two fell to the ground atop Officer Clifford.  Originating on the inclined shoulder adjacent to the roadway, Officer Clifford’s head struck the paved surface when the three fell over.

Thompson continued to physically struggle with the officers while on the ground, but was able to be taken into custody with the help of Officer Peyton and Sergeant Kelley, but not before a Semi-conscious Officer Clifford went unconscious.  In addition to investigative assistance provided by the Vermont State Police and Norwich Police, paramedics from the Hartford Fire Department responded.  Both Clifford and Peyton were transported to the Emergency Department at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for treatment.

A search of the Subaru Forester recovered personal use quantities of Marijuana and LSD.  In addition to charges related to the possession of marijuana and LSD, Thompson was also charged with Driving Under the Influence, Resisting Arrest, Simple and Aggravated Assault.  Thompson was held at Southern State Correctional Facility in lieu of $2500 cash or surety bail while awaiting a bail review/arraignment hearing later this afternoon.


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