DPS trooper indicted for actions after chase

A grand jury no billed DPS Trooper Andrew Papanos who was charged with aggravated assault by a peace officer after a November high-speed car chase in Fort Bend County.

February 22, 2011 2:47:54 PM PST
A Texas state trooper has found himself on the other side of the law, accused of beating a man after a high speed chase last year. The trooper's attorney says he was just doing what was necessary to catch a dangerous man. The man who that trooper allegedly beat is in custody at the Montgomery County Jail. He faces a drug possession charge and is also accused of evading arrest. That last charge stems from the chase which ended with him allegedly being beaten by one of the pursuing officers.

DPS Trooper Andrew Papanos was indicted Monday on a charge of aggravated assault by a peace officer. His attorney denies that Papanos did anything wrong.

"I say the trooper used appropriate force," said defense attorney John Denholm.

In November, we told you about a high-speed chase on Highway 59 which stretched all the way from Patton Village down to near Rosenberg -- some 70 miles at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour. There is dash-cam video of some of that pursuit. Trooper Papanos was one of the lawmen who were attempting to catch 58-year-old Ricki Kelley. Investigators say Kelley repeatedly fired on officers in pursuit.

Spike strips finally disabled Kelley's car and investigators say he exited the his vehicle with a shotgun in hand. That's when Papanos' attorney says the trooper did what he felt necessary to get the situation under control.

"As that trooper is getting out of that car to approach a guy who has shot at him, he's hearing more shots. He reacted as he's been trained and used force," Denholm said.

Papanos' attorney won't say exactly what happened, only that there is videotape of the alleged assault by the trooper. The attorney says there are five to six angles of the alleged assault from the dash cams of officers at the scene; however we don't know exactly what they show happening between Trooper Papanos and Kelley.

Authorities won't tell us how severely injured Kelley was, but we do know that he was flown by medical helicopter to the hospital.

Montgomery County Sheriff Tommy Gage would not let us talk to Kelley at the jail on Tuesday to try and get his side of the story.

Trooper Papanos was suspended as a result of his actions and the pending investigation resulting from this chase. His employment status at DPS wasn't immediately known. He could face up to life in prison if he's convicted on the first-degree felony charge.