Trooper's Encounter With DUI Suspect Goes 'Downhill' With Fight Over Taser

Andy Dahn
May 19, 2019 - 4:38 pm

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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A call for a disabled vehicle turned violent early Sunday for an Indiana State Trooper, who got some help from an off-duty Illinois Sheriff's Deputy.

Trooper Anthony Potesta met with the driver along the eastbound lanes of I-80/94 near Burr Street in Gary around 6 a.m. He quickly suspected the man was intoxicated.

"He attempted to do some field sobriety tests on him," Master Trooper Glen Fifield said. "That's when the encounter when downhill."

Fifield said the driver -- 29-year-old Michael Bartow of Algonquin -- refused the tests and attempted to get back in his car, which he claimed had run out of gas.

"Trooper Potesta attempted to stop him from doing that. When he did, a struggle ensued,” Fifield said.

During the struggle, Fifield said the trooper suffered a shoulder injury and lost control of his Taser.

"It fell to the ground and Mr. Bartow gained possession of it," he said. "He attempted to use it on the trooper, but it failed to fire. Fortunately, a couple of Good Samaritans stopped to assist. One of them was an off-duty Illinois Sheriff's Deputy. Another used pepper spray on Mr. Bartow. That was instrumental in taking him into custody."

Bartow faces numerous charges, including disarming an officer and driving while intoxicated.