METRO police lieutenant accused of trying to run down former lover who's a pastor, records state

Jessica Willey Image
Thursday, May 16, 2024
METRO PD lieutenant allegedly tried to run down church pastor: Records
A METRO PD lieutenant is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegations that she tried to run down a church pastor.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A lieutenant with the METRO Police Department has been charged following allegations she tried to run over a church pastor identified as her former lover in court records.

Lt. Tarlesha James has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a family member for an incident that happened on the morning of May 13 in the parking lot of the Willowbend Apartments near Humble.

Court records state the victim is Roderick Darnell Dawson, the pastor at St. Paul AME Church on Gears Road.

"There is not a crime here. She did not hit him with her vehicle, and neither did she leave the scene," James' attorney, Letitia Quinones-Hollins, said Wednesday after ABC13 first reported the allegations on Tuesday.

According to court records, Dawson told a deputy with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office that he and James were in a previous relationship that ended two years ago but continued as friends. On Monday morning, Dawson said he asked James to bring him a key to the apartment complex on FM 1960 Bypass Road, and that is where the incident happened.

"He believed someone was after him because she was in a different vehicle. He dove to get out of the way of the vehicle, and as a result of that, he injured himself," Quinones-Hollins explained.

Citing security video and an eyewitness, the investigator wrote in court records that James was in her METRO-issued SUV when it "accelerated speed" and "steered" in Dawson's direction and that she yelled, "I told you not to (expletive) with me" as he was laying on the ground.

Records list his injuries as a cut that needed stitches, a broken hand, a broken rib, and a broken knee. James' attorney said she immediately tended to him.

"Lt. James did, in fact, accompany him to the hospital to ensure he was OK. In fact, she was the one who drove him to the hospital," Quinones-Hollins said.

Dawson's church in Greenspoint was locked up when ABC13 stopped by, and he did not respond to questions about the incident or his condition.

James has been placed on administrative leave, according to METRO police. Quinones-Hollins said she is certain her client will be cleared.

"Once the DA's office hears the actual facts, those charges will not move forward," she said.

For more on this story, follow Jessica Willey on Facebook, X and Instagram.