Paducah man charged with assaulting a deputy sheriff and K-9 after pursuit

McCracken Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Awberry saw a vehicle on Yarbro Lane in the area of Woodlawn Mobile Home Park. The vehicle was stationary in the roadway and the driver had apparently passed out or fallen asleep. When Dep. Awberry approached the vehicle, he observed a quantity of suspected crack cocaine in the driver’s lap. The driver was awakened by the deputy, and then grabbed the deputy’s arm attempting to pull him into the vehicle, and then immediately put the vehicle in gear and took off, while the deputy was partially still inside the suspect’s vehicle. The vehicles rear tire ran over the deputy’s foot.

The vehicle fled from the area as the deputy gave pursuit. The suspects vehicle jumped a ditch on Estes Lane and continued driving through yards eventually abandoning the vehicle in the area of the dead end of Ramsey Road.

Numerous additional officers including K-9 Units from both the Paducah Police and the McCracken Co. Jail arrived in the area to assist. Approx two hours later, a citizen report came in that the suspect was seen walking on Lane Road. It was later determined that he had called for a ride to that area and was taken to the area of North 19th and Clay Street. As deputies attempted to approach him there at 3:28AM (Saturday), the suspect ran again on foot. Deputies chased the suspect around several houses. Dep. Awberry caught the suspect and  the suspect began fighting with the deputy. At about this time, the jail’s K-9 was deployed and engaged the suspect. The suspect began hitting and assaulting the K-9, striking him several times. He was then taken into custody.

The suspect was identified as being 30-year-old James A. Blanding of Paducah. He was later charged with the following:

Assault 1st Degree on a police officer, Fleeing or Evading 1stDegree, Fleeing or Evading 2ndDegree, Resisting Arrest, Reckless Driving, Speeding, Assault on a service animal, Possession of Synthetic Drugs, and other charges.

The suspect has previous convictions for at least three Fleeing or Evading occurrences, Trafficking in Marijuana, Trafficking in Cocaine, numerous Contempt of Court convictions, and Wanton Endangerment Charges.

Blanding was lodged at the McCracken County Regional Jail. Deputy Sheriff Awberry suffered minor injuries to his foot, and abrasions to his arm, but did not seek medical attention.

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