The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

April 6, 2013

Jailer almost loses finger in alleged aggravated assault

By BRAD KELLAR
Associated Press

GREENVILLE — A Wolfe City man has been charged with aggravated assault against a public servant in connection with a confrontation last week at the Hunt County Jail, which almost cost a jail employee a finger.

"It almost took it off," said Danny Meeks, who said the tip of his little finger was crushed and the bone behind the knuckle was broken in the incident. "It was barely hanging on."

Meeks said he had surgery Thursday to put pins in the damaged finger and reattach the tip of the finger.

An attorney was appointed for Bert Raymond Hunter Thursday, during a hearing in the 196th District Court. No additional hearings were immediately scheduled concerning Hunter, who remains in custody at the jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.

Hunter was taken into custody by an officer with the Greenville Police Department on the afternoon of March 26 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. In a criminal complaint, the officer reported Hunter failed a field sobriety test after he was stopped following reports from witnesses that he was driving erratically in the area near the intersection of Wesley and Washington Streets downtown.

According to the complaint, after booking Hunter in to the jail on the DWI charge, Hunter became combative in a waiting area which leads to the jail itself.

Meeks said he was helping restrain Hunter, when Hunter pulled away, causing a door separating the waiting area from the jail to close on Meeks' finger.

Hunter has not been indicted in connection with the incident.

The charge of aggravated assault against a public servant is a first degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence upon conviction of from five to 99 years to life in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

Hunter was already facing trial in July on an indictment for evading arrest, in connection with an incident on October 17, 2012, in which he was alleged to have fled from a Wolfe City Police Department officer.