Driver drags officer pinned in car door as he’s shot at NC park, cops say

A police officer was stuck in a car door as a driver dragged him through a North Carolina park, officials said.

The officer was shot during the ordeal, which was reported Dec. 12 at Zebulon Community Park, a recreation area in Wake County east of Raleigh.

Now, the driver accused of leaving the officer with serious injuries is facing multiple charges. The Zebulon Police Department in a news release didn’t list attorney information for the woman, identified as 51-year-old Deserie Ann Byrum.

“We are grateful that our officer was not more seriously injured last night and pray for his recovery over the coming weeks,” police wrote Dec. 13 in a Facebook post.

Officer Colby James responded just after 9:30 p.m. to a suspicious car at the park. He discovered there was a warrant for Byrum and asked her to get out of her Lexus for an arrest, according to police.

But the woman is accused of putting the car in drive and accelerating, dragging the officer.

“In just seconds, the car left (the) paved driveway and traveled into the wooded playground, pinning James in the door jam,” police wrote. “Officer James drew his issued firearm from his holster, while being dragged. The firearm discharged as the vehicle struck trees and shrubs. Officer James sustained a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the left upper arm.”

Police, who didn’t share additional details about the shooting in their news release, said the officer eventually came loose from the car.

James was given a tourniquet before he was rushed to a WakeMed medical center and released early Dec. 13, police said. He has been with the department for about a year and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Byrum’s Lexus was later found in neighboring Johnston County, where she reportedly was caught after a chase. She was served warrants and charged with “assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, damage to property, and careless and reckless driving,” police wrote.

“The charges brought against Byrum tonight and in the past few weeks demonstrate her general lack of concern for the sanctity of human life,” Jacqui Boykin, chief of the Zebulon Police Department, wrote in the news release. “With her in custody, we can focus on helping Officer James and his family heal and recover from this senseless act.”

Boykin’s department said it plans to conduct an internal review after the incident because the officer’s weapon was fired.

Zebulon police didn’t immediately share additional information with McClatchy News on Dec. 13.

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