EFFINGHAM — An Effingham man is accused of dragging an Illinois State Police trooper 25 yards down the road as he sped away Sunday from a roadside safety checkpoint, police said.
Marcus Pocrnich, 21, has been charged in Effingham County Circuit Court with two counts of aggravated battery to a police officer, one count of aggravated fleeing and eluding and one count of resisting a police officer causing Injury. Pocrnich also was issued numerous traffic citations.
According to an Illinois State Police news release, a trooper observed what appeared to be a pistol between the driver seat and center console of a vehicle around 12:27 a.m. Sunday at a roadside safety checkpoint.
The release said that during an attempt to gain control of the pistol, a brief struggle ensued between the driver and the trooper, during which the driver “grabbed the troopers arm and accelerated, driving away and dragging the trooper approximately 25 yards down the roadway before the trooper was able to free himself.”
After the driver ignored commands to stop, a pursuit involving officers from the state police, Effingham and Jasper county sheriff’s departments and Effingham police ensued. The chase ended with the vehicle’s driver and its occupants taken into custody.
The release stated the trooper suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was treated and released at a local hospital.
Pocrnich was appointed a public defender during a court hearing Tuesday and his bail set at $500,000, meaning he must post $50,000 to be released. A preliminary hearing is set for July 22.