A 58-year-old North Royalton man was indicted after he allegedly attacked a North Royalton Police officer. He was arrested on August 18. John Pugnea pleaded guilty to Felonious Assault on a Peace Officer and three counts of Aggravated Menacing.
According to North Royalton Police Reports, a resident reported that he was threatened by another motorist after a driving altercation. The driver called police during the altercation, reporting the license plate number. According to the report, Officer Alexandra Bell spotted the vehicle and followed him back to his house to investigate the threat. The report stated that Bell approached the vehicle in the driveway, which appeared to be damaged. She questioned the man about the damage, but he was uncooperative and would not follow the command. He was ordered back in the vehicle, but he refused. He opened his garage door and walked toward it. He was ordered to stop and was told he was under arrest. He continued to ignore orders and resisted when Bell tried to place handcuffs on him. He then turned and attacked the officer, punching her in the face with a closed fist multiple times, saying he was going to kill her. “He moved his fingers over my eyes and began to push them into my eye sockets. He then moved his thumbs into my eyes and pushed harder. It felt as though my eyes were going to pop and I screamed for help.”. She pepper sprayed him and was then able to hold him at gunpoint. Another officer arrived at the scene and the man was then handcuffed and placed under arrest. The officer was then taken to Southwest General Hospital for treatment to injuries to her eyes and bruises to her face.
Pugnea made his initial appearance in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on August 19, where bond was set at $500,000. He was also cited for OVI, Operating an Unsafe Vehicle and Aggravated Menacing. He was then indicted by the Grand Jury on Attempted Murder, Felonious Assault, Assault on a Peace Officer and three counts of Aggravated Menacing. His case was assigned to lawyer, Craig Weintraub. The case will be heard by Judge Daniel Gaul. A pretrial was set for September 26. At that time, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said in a statement that the man attacked Bell while she was simply trying to do her job. “He will be held accountable for this violent, inexcusable attack.” This is not the first time the man has been charged with assault on a police officer. He had been charged of assault on two North Royalton Police officers in December, 1982, but those charges were then dropped to resisting arrest.
O’Malley noted that Pugnea has been scheduled to be sentenced Monday, April 6, at 11 a.m. He faces up to 16-1/2 years in prison. “This individual brutally beat a police officer who was merely asking him questions related to a prior road rage incident he initiated,” stated O’Malley.
Contributing Writer