A member of the prominent Drummond ranching family was charged Monday with feloniously assaulting a state trooper and escaping from arrest, along with a half-dozen misdemeanors, including having marijuana and an incorrect – and expired – tag on his truck.
Thatcher Frederick Drummond, 39, earned several jolts of pepper spray in the Thursday melee before he escaped through a cow pasture with a handcuff dangling from his right wrist then spent the night “sleeping it off,” as his lawyer was reported saying. He turned himself in in the Osage County Courthouse on Friday morning.
Trooper Robert Regnier was slightly injured in the scuffle. He had a wound under his left eye where Drummond allegedly hit him with a handcuff, and a bruised right hand from pounding on Drummond as Drummond resisted and escaped.
The events were touched off by a small traffic infraction witnessed by state Trooper Robert Regnier on Thursday evening at 7:05.
According to Regnier’s probable cause affidavit filed Monday in the courthouse, this is what happened:
Regnier was on patrol on U.S. 60 when he noticed a small grass fire on the north side of the road that appeared to be under control and tended by someone on the scene, then saw a white Ford truck run a stop sign at CR 5501 and 60.
The truck pulled out in front of Regnier’s patrol car and headed west on the shoulder, ignoring the trooper’s lights and siren for about a mile, then making a left turn onto a private drive while failing to yield.
The truck then stopped under an overhead hydrant. Regnier approached and asked Drummond what he was doing, to which Drummond replied that he was trying to get to a fire. Drummond could not produce proof that the truck was insured, saying it was covered under fleet insurance, and repeated that he was trying to get to a fire when Regnier asked if he had seen the lights and heard the siren.
Regnier noticed that Drummond smelled of alcohol and that his eyes were glassy. Drummond said he had drunk two beers, prompting Regnier to ask if he had any open containers in the truck. No, Drummond replied, but there were three unopened cans of Coors Light in the truck.
Regnier went to check for open containers and, on the floorboard in plain view, found a baggie containing 3.5 grams of apparent marijuana, which he promptly collected as evidence.
Regnier then had Drummond get out of the patrol car and perform roadside tests, which he did not do well, misplacing his heel to toe, miscounting the number of steps he was to take, and “distinct and sustained nystagmus” – a test performed on the eyes that is supposed to reveal alcohol intoxication. (Eyes jerk, failing to track smoothly, as they try to follow a pen or light.)
Regnier got a portable breathalyzer from his car, and told Drummond that he was not required to take that test, Drummond initially refused, then, as Regnier was putting the device away, said he would. The portable device measured his blood alcohol at .07 percent – just under the legal limit but the test is not admissible in court.
As Regnier was putting the portable breathalyzer away, he noticed Drummond bending over. Drummond had his boot off and said he was straightening his sock. In the same area – after the wild battle that immediately followed this observation – Regnier found a weed pipe.
When Drummond stood up from the alleged sock straightening effort, Regnier told him to put his hands behind his back. Regnier cuffed the right hand, but Drummond pulled his left hand away and tried to run.
And it went to hell in the proverbial handbasket.
A great tumult ensued, in which Drummond ran toward his truck with Regnier latched onto his shirt, which came off as Drummond ran. The Drummond swung at Regnier. The handcuff hit Regnier under his eye, and Drummond ran again.The pair wrestled on the ground, Drummond refusing to obey commands and fighting while Regnier pummeled back. Regnier again told Drummond to put his hands behind his back, Drummond stoke up, and Regnier kicked him in the leg to bring him down again, then unleashed a dose of pepper spray on the rancher.
“I chased Drummond, continuing to spray him as opportunities arose,” Regnier wrote in the affidavit. “The pepper spray seemed to have no effect on Drummond.”
Again, Drummond ran toward his truck with Regnier telling him not to get in it as he drew his gun out. Drummond got in the driver’s seat, saying, “I’m just driving.”
When Regnier told him not to turn the truck on, Drummond got out and ran toward Regnier’s patrol car, which was open and unmanned, Regnier gave chase, and Drummond sailed across U.S. 60 and over a fence and vanished into the night.
Regnier then called for backup and a tracking dog, but Drummond could not be found.
At 9:40 p.m., Regnier got word that Drummond’s attorney, Gentner Drummond, had called the Osage County Sheriff’s Office to say Thatcher Drummond “was sleeping it off” and would present himself first thing the next morning.
At 11:40 the next morning, Regnier got word from Acting District Attorney Mike Fisher that Drummond turned himself in at the courthouse.
There, he ordered released after he checked into the jail and posted a $20,000 habeas corpus bond.
On Monday, he was formally charged with felony assault on a police officer, felony escape from detention, the ex misdemeanors: Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, possession of weed and paraphernalia, failure to maintain security verification, operating a vehicle with an improper tag and, the crime that led to the whole bizarre incident, running a stop sign.
On Monday, Drummond was arraigned on the eight charges and allowed to remain free on the $20,000 bond.
Judge Stuart Tate entered a not guilty plea on his behalf as Drummond answered mundane courtroom questions with a “Yes, sir,” and clasped his hands in front of himself.
He is next due on court on March 30 for a pre-preliminary hearing.