Assault on Police Officers & DUI in a Front Load Tractor

South Lake Tahoe, CA…On 2/20/11, 2100 hours, at around 9pm, Officers Jake Herminghaus and Ray Poole responded to a report of a DUI driver in a large front end loader tractor. Concerned witnesses called to report that, while conducting snow removal operations at an apartment complex on Ski Run Blvd., the loader’s driver had knocked down a light standard and then a traffic control sign.

Officer’s arrived on scene and attempted to perform a traffic stop on the loader. The driver of the loader (Steve Beattie 55 YOA) would not yield to the lights and sirens of the two patrol vehicles. The driver set the loader’s bucket to a height of approximately 4’. Beattie gave a middle finger gesture to the officers and then intentionally drove directly toward Officer Poole, still seated inside his patrol vehicle. The bucket was now approximately head level to Officer Poole. Officer Poole quickly backed his patrol vehicle in an attempt to escape the intended impact. Due to a snow berm, Officer Poole was able to back only a few feet. This was just enough so that the loader barely missed an impact with his patrol vehicle.

Steve Beattie continued to drive the loader west bound on Terry Lane, which is a dead end street. Beattie eventually brought the loader to a stop. Beattie initially refused to get out of the driver’s seat of the loader. After several minutes of receiving police commands Beattie began to exit the loader. Beattie remained uncooperative. Officers had to physically restrain Beattie on the ground to take him into custody.

Suspect Beattie was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon (his vehicle) upon a police officer, and a second felony charge of attempting to evade the police with wanton disregard for the safety of others. Beattie submitted to a blood test, which has been submitted to the California Department of Justice for analysis to determine his blood alcohol level. He also admitted to using illicit drugs and to conducting snow removal operations without sleep for several consecutive days. He was booked into the El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe. Neither Beattie nor any of the responding officers were injured during this event.