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Emotions were high in the courtroom as a Tilden man was sentenced in District Court for an incident that included dragging the Neligh Police Chief with his vehicle.
Andrew Paulsen was sentenced on Wednesday to serve no less than two years and no more than four in the Nebraska Department of Corrections for attempted assault of a peace officer.
On the stand, Police Chief Mike Wright testified with details of the assault but also said he has forgiven Paulsen, who had to be tased during the arrest.
“I forgive him,” Wright testified. “Honestly, I don’t believe his intent was to cause me any harm that day. But, he did. But, like I said, I do forgive you and I don’t hold it against you. And you just really need to figure out what is going on.”
According to court documents, on June 16, Paulsen entered the Casey’s General Store located in Neligh to discuss a personal topic with the mother of his children, who was working at the store at the time. After the discussion did not end in the way he had wanted, Paulsen proceeded to cause a disturbance in the store forcing management to ask him to leave twice.
He then exited the building where a manager at the store witnessed him bending over near her vehicle and then heard the sound of air escaping from the tire. Management then proceeded to contact local law enforcement.
The affidavit said Wright was notified by dispatch of the incident in which he located Paulsen and initiated a traffic stop. Upon the stop, Wright asked about the incident at Casey’s in which Paulsen admitted to being there but denied any type of disturbance.
The stop began to escalate when Wright received confirmation from Sheriff Bob Moore at Casey’s that the tire was damaged beyond repair as well as a confirmation of two witnesses from the incident. After confirmation, Wright asked Paulsen to step out of the vehicle because he was under arrest for criminal mischief and disturbing the peace.
Paulsen became upset, began yelling and started his vehicle in attempt to flee the scene. Hoping he could defer the situation, Wright leaned into the driver’s side window the vehicle reaching for the ignition; however, he was unable to cause any impact in stopping Paulsen from fleeing.
When asked on the stand, Wright explained that his intentions were to defer the situation as quickly and peacefully as possible to keep himself and other safe. At the time, he chose to hang on because the consequences of letting go could have lead to more harm.
Wright admitted that his initial reaction was to reach down for him service weapon; however, he explained that he is extremely grateful that he chose another option.
“At that point, that was an option because whatever his intentions and reasons where, my life was in danger as well as the public,” Wright stated.
Wright was able to gain control of the steering wheel causing the vehicle to cross the lane of traffic. Finally, Wright was able to use his Taser to subdue Paulsen and bring the vehicle to a stop. Deputy Lyle Juracek and Deputy Dan Hallock assisted Wright in the arrest, transporting him to Antelope County Jail.
Wright received minor scrapes, bruising, as well as pain in his upper back, right arm, and right knee from the accident.
Paulsen was sentenced on three different counts after four others were dropped since the incident. On count 1, Attempted Assault on a Peace Officer in the 2nd Degree, a class IIA felony, Paulsen was sentenced to an indeterminate term of no less than 2 years and no more than 4 years. On count 2, Criminal Mischief, a class III misdemeanor, he was sentenced to 90 days. Paulsen received another 90 days for his 3rd count, a class III misdemeanor of Disturbing the Peace.
Each sentence was ordered to be served consecutively in the Nebraska Department of Corrections.