A Columbus police officer is recovering after he was attacked by a man early Thursday during a manhunt in Taylorsville.
Dallas R. Mullins, 24, of North Vernon, was arrested after he reportedly charged at Columbus Police Patrolman Chad Lehman. Lehman’s police dog, Rex, had led officers to Mullins’ hiding spot under a front porch deck of a home in Heritage Heights mobile home park.
Mullins was sought after he reportedly ran from an attempted traffic stop.
Lehman was hit “several times in the head and face area” and inadvertently was bitten by the police dog trying to protect Lehman from Mullins, authorities said. Lehman was treated at Columbus Regional Hospital for minor injuries and will be off work for a couple of days to recover.
Mullins was evaluated at the hospital and then booked into the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of resisting law enforcement, battery on a police officer and police animal, driving while suspended with a previous conviction and possession of marijuana. He also was wanted on a Jennings County warrant for dealing methamphetamine.
The manhunt began after Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Williams attempted to pull over a pickup truck at 2:01 a.m. Thursday for running a red light on U.S. 31 at County Road 650N. The driver of the truck, later identified as Mullins, pulled into a driveway in the 9700 block of U.S. 31 and ran westward into a nearby bean field, according to the sheriff’s department.
Williams kept an eye on the man and waited for Deputy Jessica Pendleton and her K-9 partner, Bolt, to help track the driver. Officers found him hiding under a sign near the entrance to Heritage Heights, but he then ran again
toward the Dollar General Store.
Deputies searched a thick brush area but could not find him until Lehman and Rex joined in the manhunt and tracked him down.
But he ran again, and Rex tracked him to his hiding spot under the deck in the 2400 block of Andrew Drive, the sheriff’s department said.
Mullins reportedly refused to comply with officers’ commands to come out, and Deputy Justin Arnholt fired his Taser, striking Mullins with one of the two probes.
Mullins then came out from under the deck and charged toward Lehman and Rex, according to the sheriff’s department. Mullins reportedly continued to fight Lehman and was trying to hit other officers.
Pendleton fired her Taser, which allowed other officers to handcuff Mullins.
Lt. Matt Myers, spokesman for the Columbus Department, said Rex probably saved Lehman from serious injuries during the attack.
“Rex did exactly what he’s trained to do. Although he bit Chad, in close quarters where fights are going on, those things can happen,” Myers said. “The dog was trying to protect his handler.”
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