A North Carolina truck driver was Tased twice by state police after he allegedly resisted arrest outside the Walmart Distribution Center in Bedford Township earlier this month.
Elijah E. Pacheco, 24, of Raleigh, is facing charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, DUI, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct following the Sept. 12 incident in the parking lot of the facility at 181 Walmart Road.
Troopers were dispatched to the center about 10:30 p.m. that evening after employees there had reported a driver was acting erratically, was unable to back his rig up to his trailer and had attempted to leave without the trailer.
Tpr. Nickolas Luciano testified that he made contact with Pacheco in his truck and requested to speak to him outside of the vehicle due to the noise of nearby rigs.
Luciano said Pacheco initially refused to get out of the vehicle, but later exited the truck with two cellphones in his hands. When police asked if there was anything wrong, Pacheco allegedly responded that he was intimidated by the size of the building and the people there, and that he was thirsty and in need of water.
Luciano said Pacheco would fidget when speaking and made comments about how he observed the time at 9:11 and it “reminded him of 9/11” and that he “felt God was delaying his truck being unloaded so he could continue to reflect.”
Police requested Luciano complete field sobriety tests and he refused, Luciano said. The trooper said Pacheco became agitated and started to record video on his cellphone when police told him he would be arrested for suspected DUI and taken to a hospital and asked to submit to a blood test if he did not conduct the field sobriety tests.
Luciano said Pacheco began narrating the stop while filming and refused to answer whether he would consent to the sobriety tests. Police then attempted to arrest Pacheco by placing his hands behind his back, and he allegedly refused and attempted to retreat.
Pacheco allegedly continued to resist as two troopers attempted to get his hands behind his back to be handcuffed.
Luciano testified that he pointed his Taser at Pacheco and warned him to get on the ground. He said the defendant got on his knees then stood up several times before the trooper used his Taser, which deployed prongs to his chest and leg.
Pacheco fell to the ground, but then got up and attempted to rip the prongs out, Luciano said, adding that Pacheco continued to ignore police commands before he used the Taser a second time.
Pacheco allegedly continued to resist and was able to break free from troopers. Luciano said he used mace in Pacheco’s face area as he ran across the parking lot, before he was stopped at the gate by another trooper and a Walmart employee.
Pacheco was taken to UPMC Bedford where he refused a blood test. Luciano said other employees at the distribution center later provided written statements that Pacheco had been acting erratically prior to police arriving at the scene, including “flapping his arms like a bird.”
Luciano testified that police found an empty container of THC oil in Pacheco’s truck. Pacheco shouted out “objection” after Luciano made the statement.
District Judge Tonya Osman explained court procedure to Pacheco. A short time later he said “objection” again after Luciano testified that Pacheco had told him he got the oil from a dispensary in Colorado.
Osman again explained the court procedure to Pacheco, telling him that his attorney, Chief Public Defender Karen Hickey, would object to any legal arguments. Pacheco apologized.
Hickey argued that there was no evidence Pacheco was under the influence of a controlled substance and that he behavior could have been the result of mental health issues. Police testified that they were not aware of a mental health evaluation done at the hospital.
Osman bound the charges to the Court of Common Pleas. Pacheco requested to speak about his account of the day during a bail hearing. Osman again explained the purpose of the preliminary hearing, the standard of evidence needed to be presented by the Commonwealth on the charges, and how the case will go to trial in the Court of Common Pleas.
Osman modified bail from $25,000 straight to 10% of $25,000.