A Fredericktown man accused of dragging a state trooper roughly 20 feet with his truck was acquitted Wednesday of felony aggravated assault but convicted of simple assault and other charges.
Arnold J. Frankie, 63, of Barney’s Run Road, was also found guilty of misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and fleeing or attempting to elude the police, as well as obedience to authorized persons directing traffic, careless driving and reckless driving after a two-day jury trial before Washington County Common Pleas Judge Valarie Costanzo. The jury returned the verdict about 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The jury found Frankie not guilty of four felony aggravated assault charges.
Frankie was accused of dragging Trooper Heather Gonglik after he failed to obey numerous hand and verbal signals directing him to stop. Gonglik was directing traffic at the scene of a crash in Bentleyville in April.
Gonglik testified during the trial that after Frankie failed to obey several signals to stop, he eventually pulled alongside her after she stood in the middle of road with both her hands up. While she was speaking with Frankie about obeying signals, he sped off. Fearing for her safety and the safety of others, Gonglik said she ran along Frankie’s Ford F-250 in attempt to get him to stop.
Gonglik said she managed to get her right arm inside the vehicle’s window and continued to yell for him to stop. Gonglik said Frankie pushed her arm several times until she fell from the vehicle and smacked her head off the pavement. She managed to get up, run to her cruiser and chase Frankie at speeds upward of 90 mph.
Frankie pulled over on Beallsvile Road, where Gonglik arrested him.
Gonglik was later taken to Monongahela Valley Hospital for neck and back pain, headaches and abrasions. Gonglik said she still suffers from neck and back pain and receives epidural injections to help manage the pain. She remains on limited duty.
Frankie’s attorney, Noah Geary, argued his client misinterpreted Gonglik’s signals, and was possibly suffering low blood sugar. While he admitted it was wrong for his client to drive away, Geary further argued that Gonglik was at fault.
“With all due respect, she caused her own injuries,” he said. “She acted recklessly, and put herself in danger.”
Frankie did not testify during the trial. However, a statement he made the night of the incident was played for the court, in addition to video and audio of the incident taken from Gonglik’s cruiser and testimony from several witnesses.
Frankie remains free on bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. May 2.