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Dixon man charged in police officer dragging

Cop recovered from injuries sustained in September incident

DIXON – A Dixon man faces 16 charges after a police officer was dragged more than 30 feet from a car as he tried to stop a fleeing suspect.

Sgt. Steve Howell, who has been with the Dixon Police Department for 13 years, was among the officers who responded to a Sept. 9 disturbance call at a home in the 800 block of Fellows Road.

When police arrived, authorities say, an intoxicated Vincent McGinnis, 20, ran toward his car to drive away. Police say that Howell, in an attempt to stop McGinnis from getting his car into gear, reached inside the car, at which point McGinnis took off, dragging Howell more than 30 feet before the officer was able to let go.

Police say they then pursued McGinnis as he drove north before he lost control of his car and crashed a short time later on state Route 2 near Lost Nation Road.

According to Lee County Sheriff John Varga, McGinnis’ car hit three trees at the top of the hill before his car split in half – the engine and dashboard separating from the front seat.

Dixon Police Chief Danny Langloss said that Howell suffered a minor knee injury and has since made a full recovery. McGinnis is still recovering from his injuries.

A warrant was issued for his arrest, and on Tuesday, McGinnis turned himself in.

He is charged with aggravated battery to a police officer, resisting or obstructing a peace officer, four counts of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, driving under the influence, driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content greater than 0.08 percent, reckless driving, speeding, leaving the scene of a car accident, failing to give information upon damaging an unattended vehicle, two counts of disobeying a stop sign, running a red light, and improper lane usage.

Lee County State’s Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller said her office was unable to release McGinnis’ blood-alcohol content.

“Mr. McGinnis’ reckless actions not only caused an injury to one of our officers, he represented a significant risk to our community members on our roads at that time,” Langloss said in a news release. “We are glad Mr. McGinnis is making a strong recovery, but we must send a clear message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in our community. We are very thankful this did not turn out any worse than it did.”

“By his actions that night, McGinnis put himself, police officers and the public in danger,” Sacco-Miller said, “and conduct like that will not be tolerated.”

McGinnis was given a low bond amount – $5,000 – because of his medical condition, according to police.

After turning himself in, McGinnis posted bond. He will appear in court Nov. 27.

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