• 72°

Drug suspect hospitalized

AHOSKIE – A simple traffic stop proved anything but routine here Tuesday night.

William Morris Simons II, 35 of 920 East First Street in Ahoskie, was arrested after struggling with two Ahoskie Police officers who, in turn, were forced to deploy the use of a tazer weapon.

Simons was treated and released from Roanoke-Chowan Hospital following the 10:50 p.m. incident that occurred on East Richard Street. Meanwhile, Ahoskie Police Officer Justin Farmer, who was reportedly kicked five times by Simons during the struggle, was not seriously injured.

The incident began when Officer Farmer, on routine patrol, observed a passing motorist operating a vehicle with defective safety equipment.

According to Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh, Officer Farmer initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle. Upon checking the license information of the driver, now identified as Simons, Farmer discovered it was suspended.

Fitzhugh said Farmer asked the driver to exit the vehicle at which time, subsequent to the arrest, Simons was handcuffed and asked to be searched.

“Officer Farmer asked Mr. Simons did he have anything on his person, to which Mr. Simons mumbled an answer,” Fitzhugh said. “Officer Farmer then observed Mr. Simons chewing something that was inside his mouth. Officer Farmer asked Mr. Simons to spit out the substance and Mr. Simons refused.”

Ahoskie Police Officer Chris Copeland then arrived at which time Simons began to struggle with both officers.

“At six-foot, five inches and weighing 282 pounds, Mr. Simons was able to use his frame and muscle to attempt to free himself from the officers, despite being handcuffed,” Fitzhugh said. “During the struggle, Mr. Simons kicked Officer Farmer five times in the chest.”

In order to bring Simons under control, Officer Copeland deployed his tazer weapon. Fitzhugh said it took four attempts with the tazer to finally bring Simons under control.

“The last time the tazer was used prompted Mr. Simons to release what was in his mouth,” Fitzhugh said, adding that he spat two, white rock-like substances to the ground.

Due to the possibility that Simons may have swallowed some of the substance, consistent with crack cocaine, Simons was transported to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. There, Simons was treated and released back into the custody of the Ahoskie Police Department.

“Mr. Simons was taken to the hospital for his safety,” Fitzhugh said. “We were unsure if he had swallowed any of the substance that we believe to be crack cocaine.”

Simons was charged with intent to maintain, sell and deliver cocaine, assault on a government official, resist, delay and obstruct and driving while license were revoked. He was placed under a $26,000 secured bond and incarcerated in the Hertford County Jail.

Fitzhugh commended his officers for a job well done.