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Trooper assaulted during DWI arrest

A Brainerd State Patrol trooper making a DWI arrest Saturday in Hubbard County was injured after the suspect struck her in the head with her Taser, the State Patrol reported Monday.

About 1:30 a.m. Saturday Trooper Darcy Gagnon stopped Elijah Lee Knowles, 26, of Akeley, on Highway 34 just east of the Dorset corner near Park Rapids.

After performing field sobriety tests, including a preliminary breath test, Gagnon arrested Knowles for DWI. As she attempted to handcuff Knowles he resisted arrest and hit her several times on the head with her Taser.

According to the criminal complaint filed Monday, Knowles then put the Taser to Gagnon’s head and pulled the trigger, but the safety prevented the Taser from deploying. Knowles then attempted to take her sidearm, but was unable to get her gun. When Hubbard County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, Knowles fled in his vehicle south on County Road 33 at speeds in excess of 110 mph.

During the pursuit Knowles tried to ram two squad cars. The pursuit ended after he crashed his car near Highway 64 and 200th Street in Hubbard County. The patrol said Knowles resisted arrest and deputies needed to use Mace spray and physically subdue him in order to place him in handcuffs. As he was being placed into a squad car he kicked one of the deputies in the chest.

Gagnon required staples to close the wound to her head but the State Patrol reported she is expected to make a full recovery.

“This incident demonstrates the extreme challenges and dangers our troopers can face every day as they work to keep our roads safe,” said patrol chief Kevin Daly in a news release. “Trooper Gagnon used her extensive weapon retention training during the attack which likely saved her life. We are grateful that Trooper Gagnon will make a full recovery.”

Sgt. Curt Mowers of the State Patrol’s Brainerd District said Gagnon’s patrol area covered the northern half of Cass County and all of Hubbard County.

On Monday, Knowles was charged in Hubbard County District Court with nine criminal charges — first-degree assault, second-degree assault with a weapon, third-degree assault, fourth-degree assault of a peace officer, disarming a police officer, fleeing a police officer, obstructing arrest and two counts of third-degree DWI.

Mowers said officials with the Brainerd State Patrol District were surprised but pleased that charges against Knowles were filed so quickly.

He credited the speed in the case to State Patrol investigators and supervisors providing the Hubbard County Attorney’s office with assistance and information throughout the weekend and through early Monday.

State court records show Knowles’ criminal history in Minnesota consisted of misdemeanor alcohol and traffic offenses, including underage consumption, open bottle in a vehicle, DWI, speeding and driving after license revocation.