Meridian Star

Local News

June 11, 2014

Suspect beat prior aggravated assault charge

MERIDIAN — By Brandon Ward

bward@themeridianstar.com

    A Meridian man who faces two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer has faced a similar charge in the past — but that earlier charge was dropped.

    Eric Lamont Nash, 27, was arrested Friday around midnight during a domestic dispute in which Meridian Police Department officials say he cut two of the responding officers with a box cutter.

    In this incident a female victim called police after a disagreement got out of hand with Nash, authorities said. Police allege that upon arrival Nash cut the officers with a box cutter. The officers were treated and released from a Meridian hospital.

    Nash has had prior brushes with the law.

    In September of 2010, Nash was arrested by Meridian police and charged with simple assault.

     In June of 2012, Nash, 25 at the time, was charged for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and fleeing or eluding law enforcement in a motor vehicle.

    Former Meridian Police Department Officer Joel Hamilton said Nash was trying to elude other law enforcement officers when he crashed his SUV into Hamilton's patrol car.

    "We received a call of a domestic violence incident around Frank Berry Courts," Hamilton said in a telephone interview from his Tennessee home. "As I started to head that way to the incident another officer beat me there and I heard that Nash was fleeing. As I got closer I saw the green SUV, Nash was driving, approaching. I pulled over to the side of the road and began flashing my lights."

    Hamilton said it was at that point Nash crashed into his patrol car head on at a high speed.

    "He rammed into my car head on going up to 60 miles per hour," Hamilton said. "The impact broke my finger, crushed my foot up in the floor board, and the air bag blew my glasses off."

    Hamilton said Nash was taken into custody by another officer involved in the pursuit.

    Nash was not prosecuted on the aggravated assault charge, but received a plea deal for five years of probation for fleeing or eluding law enforcement in a motor vehicle.

    "I was furious when I found out about the Friday night incident," Hamilton said. "Those two officers should have never been cut by Nash because he should of been behind bars."  

    District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell, who handled the case at the time, said there was not enough evidence to prove Nash intentionally crashed into Hamilton and the aggravated assault charge was dropped.

    "We felt like a jury would feel the same way — that this situation was more of an accident than intentional," Mitchell said. "Nash admitted to fleeing from officers but said hitting Hamilton was an accident and he got out of the vehicle to check on Hamilton."

    Nash also faced charges of domestic violence, two counts of disorderly conduct, DUI, suspended drivers license, and no insurance card.

    Nash had his initial hearing Monday for the charge of aggravated assault on the two officers. His bond was set at $200,000.

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