The man accused of dragging a Colorado State University police officer across town in a stolen car pleaded guilty on Wednesday, a little more than two years after the incident.
Dominic Jackson, 23, was arrested at 1:47 a.m. on Sept. 7, 2017, after a routine traffic stop that quickly escalated when police say he refused to hand over a stolen gun and hit the gas while officer Mike Lohman was halfway in the car.
Jackson pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, a Class 2 felony. Three other charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement. Jackson’s plea agreement came with an immediate sentence of 16 years in jail, followed by five years of parole and up to $1 million in fines. The court credited Jackson with 819 days of time served.
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According to previous Coloradoan reporting of the case, Lohman pulled over Jackson for a routine traffic stop near Whitcomb Street and Prospect Road, and Jackson was initially compliant. Lohman then learned via dispatch that the vehicle was stolen, and asked Jackson to exit the car.
Jackson hesitated, and Lohman then opened the driver-side door. He then noticed a revolver on the floor. Jackson reached for the gun, and Lohman shouted, “Gun, gun, gun!”
Lohman successfully removed the gun from the car and it fell to the ground. When he was “halfway in, halfway out” of the car, Jackson accelerated, drove the car one block and crashed into trash cans and hit a house.
Both Jackson and Lohman were thrown from the car during the crash and suffered road rash injuries. Lohman also sustained a concussion and gouges on his head that required stitches, Fort Collins Police Services Det. Gary Trujillo previously testified.
On Wednesday, public defender Matthew Morriss and deputy district attorney Ashley Barber both said they felt Jackson’s plea agreement was fair.
Jackson declined to make a statement at the sentencing hearing.
Lohman’s wife, Cayley Chiodo, took the stand and described the impact of the incident as well as Lohman’s character.
“This incident took place two years ago, but the effects will last forever,” she said.
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She listed out the choices Jackson made that night, saying he chose wrongly at every step.
“He chose his life was far more important than an officer’s,” she said. “Despite these bad decisions, officer Lohman continued to treat Jackson with respect, calling an ambulance for Jackson (after the car crashed.) I hope (Jackson) has or will learn from this.”
Eighth Judicial District Judge Susan Blanco echoed Chiodo’s statements when she addressed Jackson Wednesday.
“The danger (you imposed) to the community is unacceptable, and you knew it,” she said. “His wife is right: In life, you’re given a series of choices. If you had just stopped, consequences would be so different for you, the community and officer Lohman.”
Blanco added that Jackson was extremely fortunate for Lohman’s character, adding that Lohman calling the ambulance for Jackson “says a lot about his character.”
Lohman, who now works for Greeley Police Department, was presented with the Congressional Badge of Bravery by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., on Aug. 15 for his 2017 encounter with Jackson.
“I’m grateful every day for the officers who protect the thin blue line and for their work to keep communities safe,” states a Facebook post by Gardner about the honor.
Previous coverage by former reporter Cassa Niedringhaus contributed to this story.
Brooklyn Dance is a breaking news reporter. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @hibrookIyn.
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