Man accused of dragging trooper to stand trial

April 30, 2013

ELLSWORTH – A Fredericktown man accused of dragging a state trooper who had stopped him when he ignored her directions at the scene of a crash last month was ordered to stand trial Tuesday on charges including aggravated assault.

Arnold Joseph Frankie, 62, of Barney’s Run Road, is accused of dragging Trooper Heather Gonglik, who was assisting Southwest Regional police April 3 at the scene of a two-vehicle crash in the 600 block of Main Street in Bentleyville.

Gonglik, who is assigned to the Belle Vernon station of Troop B, said she had put her hand up to stop southbound traffic in order to allow northbound traffic to flow when Frankie, who was going south, continued coming into the northbound lanes. Gonglik said he stopped briefly but then continued.

“I motioned with my hands again for him to stop,” Gonglik said. “I then went out to the middle of the road with both palms up.”

Gonglik went over to Frankie to talk with him in his truck.

“I explained to him that it was now a traffic stop because he failed to follow my commands,” Gonglik said. “He was getting agitated and I told him that he was not free to go.”

Gonglik said she tried to reach into the truck and turn off the ignition as the vehicle continued moving. She said Frankie used his left hand to shove her hands away. She had her hands on the driver’s door window, which was down, when he started to speed up.

The trooper fell back after she was dragged about 20 feet, hitting her head on the pavement. A witness, Stephanie Jo Adamson, as well as the trooper said Frankie then sped off.

Gonglik went back to her cruiser to pursue Frankie.

“I was going over 90 mph to catch up with him,” Gonglik said.

Frankie made a left on Beallsville Road and pulled over.

Gonglik told First Assistant District Attorney Michael Lucas that she continues to receive therapy for injuries to her neck, back and hip.

Trooper Matthew Gavrish, who filed the charges against Frankie, said the man told him that he had a bad day and must have had a “brain fart.” Frankie also told Gavrish that he was sorry for what happened.

After Thompson ordered Frankie held for court on the charges including aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, fleeing or attempting to elude police, resisting arrest, obedience to authorized persons directing traffic, he denied a request by defense attorney Noah Geary to reduce his $150,000 bond.

Lucas argued the amount was appropriate since he had put the trooper in harm’s way.

Thompson denied the request, noting that Frankie had been able to post the bond at the set amount.

“I see no reason to lower it since he is out of jail,” Thompson said.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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