By Margie Wuebker
A Mercer County Sheriff's deputy will be returning to work Wednesday after investigators cleared him of any wrongdoing in connection with a shooting that injured a Franklin County man.
Deputy Doug Timmerman had been placed on administrative leave in the wake of a May 1 shooting.
Ricky Driskill, 27, of Columbus, was shot in the stomach after he reportedly failed to lay down a construction-type knife and then lunged at Timmerman with the weapon. He continued to inch toward law enforcement officers after falling to the ground before throwing the weapon at Coldwater Patrolman Randy Waltmire. However, the weapon missed its intended mark.
The confrontation occurred after Driskill fled the scene of an accident near Burkettsville in a pickup truck belonging to a first responder dispatched to the incident. The suspect crashed the truck into the Wabash River and was walking across a field when spotted by authorities.
Timmerman, who suffered a hand injury while trying to subdue the suspect, was placed on administrative leave immediately following the shooting incident as required by the sheriff's office policy manual. The action was not disciplinary in nature. "The purpose of the leave is to give the deputy time to recover from a stressful incident and to give investigators time to review the conduct of the deputy to be certain it falls within sheriff's office guidelines," Sheriff Jeff Grey told The Daily Standard this morning.
The investigation, conducted by Lt. Matt Grunden and Lt. Martin Emerine, was turned over to the sheriff Friday afternoon. It concluded the officers (Timmerman, Waltmire and St. Henry Police Chief Bob Garman) acted reasonably and gave Driskill every opportunity to surrender peacefully.
When those attempts failed and the suspect made an offensive attack move, investigators found Timmerman had no choice but to stop the threat. One shot from the deputy's 9-mm service weapon struck Driskill in the left abdominal area. However, he continued to resist but could no longer attack.
Additionally, investigators found the three officers exercised restraint in attempts to disarm Driskill, who family and friends describe as a successful computer software salesman.
"As much as we don't want to harm people, Doug had no choice," Grey said. "Doug should be commended along with Chief Garman and Officer Waltmire for their actions to protect the people of Mercer County and their concern for Driskill after the incident."
Driskill, who underwent surgery to remove the bullet at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater, was transferred later to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton after tests indicated he had suffered neck injuries in the second crash. He was dismissed Friday afternoon and transported by cruiser to the Mercer County Jail.
An appearance in Celina Municipal Court had not been set by press time today. Driskill faces two counts of felonious assault on a peace officer, both first-degree felonies, and one count of theft, a fourth-degree felony. Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox has filed a request for a $1 million cash bond in the case.
The first-degree felonies each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine upon conviction. The fourth-degree felony charge could add another 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.