Detective concussed in suspect’s escape try

OKEECHOBEE — A detective apparently sustained a concussion when a handcuffed suspect allegedly tried to escape and caused the investigator to hit the back of his head on a concrete entrance-way to the county jail.

John Russell Harlow, 23, N.W. 36th St., Okeechobee, was initially arrested Jan. 31 on a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance (amphetamine) and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

John Russell Harlow

John Russell Harlow

But, as Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) Detective Corporal Ted Van Deman was escorting the handcuffed man to jail, Harlow allegedly tried to flee on foot. When the detective grabbed Harlow with “… both arms around the head, neck and shoulders …” the suspect kicked upward and caused both men to fall.

When the two men went down, the detective slammed the back of his head into the concrete in front of the entry doors to the Okeechobee County Jail. Harlow reportedly landed on top of the investigator.

Fellow OCSO Detective Marty D. Faulkner was walking with the other two men and helped get Harlow under control.

Cpl. Van Deman’s report pointed out that even though he struggled to maintain consciousness, he “… managed to put the suspect in a choke hold and hold him until Detective Faulkner could assist.”

The 6-foot, 160-pound Harlow has since been charged with the felonies of escape and resisting arrest with violence.

Jail records show he is being held on $65,000 bond.

Cpl. Van Deman also sustained some scrapes and cuts. When queried about his health Thursday, Feb. 4, he said he was feeling better.

“I had a three-day headache, but I’m over it,” he said.

According to Cpl. Van Deman’s arrest report, Harlow was arrested after the vehicle in which he was a passenger was stopped in the 3800 block of U.S. 98 N.

“During the stop, several items of drug paraphernalia were seen within the confines of the cab of the truck. More specifically, in the area of the passenger seat where John Harlow was sitting,” stated the detective’s report.

After a subsequent search of the blue Dodge pickup several syringes, cut straws and a spoon containing a residue were found, continued the report.

That residue was tested and that test allegedly indicated a positive result for the presence of amphetamine.

“It should be noted that all the items mentioned, with the exception of (a) multi-colored cut straw, was within the grasp of the passenger seat,” added Cpl. Van Deman.

The report went on to indicate the driver did not know about all of the paraphernalia and became very angry with Harlow, the report noted. The driver was not charged.

Cpl. Van Deman said his investigation is continuing.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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