By Margie Wuebker
A Franklin County man who allegedly threatened law enforcement officers with a box cutter before being shot entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity during a Friday afternoon arraignment hearing in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
Ricky D. Driskill, 27, of Columbus, listened intently as defense attorney John Poppe submitted written pleas. He faces two counts of felonious assault involving police officers, both first-degree felonies, and theft, a fifth-degree felony.
The arraignment, previously scheduled for July 28, had been postponed so the defendant could undergo a mental evaluation to determine his state of mind at the time the offenses were allegedly committed. That process has been completed, according to Poppe.
Judge Jeffrey Ingraham set 9 a.m. Sept. 9 as the time and date for an attorney conference, with Poppe to initiate the call.
Driskill, described as a successful computer salesman, wore a gray suit, dress shirt and patterned tie as family members accompanied him into the courtroom. He appeared without the neck brace he had worn in previous appearances. The charges stem from a May 1 incident which began with a traffic accident on Watkins Road, northeast of Burkettsville. Driskill fled the scene in a 2000 Chevy Silverado owned by first responder Nathan Bomholt.
Driskill then drove into a farm field east of Dull Road, approximately two miles from the accident scene. Unfamiliar with the area, he ended up driving Bomholt's vehicle over a Wabash River embankment.
Authorities spotted him in a field and went to investigate. He reportedly flashed the box cutter as they approached and ignored repeated orders to put the weapon down. Even pepper spray had no effect.
Driskill allegedly lunged at Mercer County Sheriff's Deputy Doug Timmerman with weapon in hand. The deputy fired one shot from his 9-mm service weapon hitting the suspect in the stomach. The wounded man continued to inch toward officers man and subsequently threw the box cutter at Coldwater Patrolman Randy Waltmire.
Driskill underwent surgery at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater. He was later transferred to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton after additional tests pinpointed three fractured vertebrae in his neck. It is believed the injury occurred in the second accident.
In addition to the felony offenses, he also faces misdemeanor charges of operating a vehicle under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and willful and wanton disregard for safety in Celina Municipal Court.
Driskill remains free after posting 10 percent of a $225,000 bond, with the stipulation he resides with his father in Modoc, Ind.