Officer fights off driver after being pulled into moving car, assaulted

STANLY COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - An officer fought off a driver after being pulled into a moving car and assaulted in Stanly County Friday night.

According to Norwood Town Administrator John Mullis, the incident started after a traffic stop in front of Norwood Elementary School.

The Norwood town administrator said that on Friday night, the Norwood Police Department along with the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and the Stanly County Sheriff's Department conducted an operation focused around infractions and general observations.

A Norwood officer stopped a driver for having a defective headlight. He was pulled into the car by the driver who sped away with the door still open.

The officer was reportedly able to hold on with his legs dangling outside of the car at speeds estimated above 80 miles per hour.

When the officer was able to get inside the moving car, he and the driver were kicking, punching and fighting as the car kept moving recklessly down the road.

As the car got closer to the Rocky River bridge, south of Norwood, Mullis said that the driver appeared to be intentionally directing the vehicle into the bridge.

The officer was able to wrestle the steering wheel left as they approached the bridge, keeping it on the road.

After they got past the bridge and into Anson County, the car turned onto on Highway 52 where the officer was able to pull the steering wheel right and force the car off of the road.

"The car went over an embankment, airborne for a moment, clipping trees before coming to an abrupt stop some 300 feet later in a private back yard with both airbags deployed," Mullis said in the Facebook post.

The driver fled, but the officer was able to pursue and tackle him as another officer was able to intervene and assist.

Mullis referenced a number of police-involved incidents that have happened in North Carolina in the past week on his Facebook post and expressed thankfulness that the officer in this incident, Detective Michael Hodgson, was able to survive.

"Last night, Norwood could have too been mourning the loss of another dedicated law enforcement officer. By the grace of God, the event did not turn tragic. After interviewing Detective Hodgson, I am absolutely amazed at his thought processes as we ran through the previous event together. Detective Hodgson was placed into the event and had to make a multitude of decision during the event that most likely saved his life as well as the life of the suspect."

Hodgson was transported to the hospital but was later released.

No further information has been released in this incident.

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