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Vermont man arrested after struggle, chase

DEERFIELD — A Vermont man facing heroin dealing charges and a slew of other offenses allegedly asked the Lord for help before fighting a state trooper and leading police on a high-speed chase that ended with him locking the doors of his disabled car and lighting a cigarette, forcing troopers to smash his window to get him out, according to police.

Paul Heim, 30, of Woodstock, Vt., pleaded innocent Thursday in Greenfield District Court to charges of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and Class B controlled substances, assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, resisting arrest, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, driving without a license, two marked lanes violations, speeding and failing to stop for police.

Trooper Charles Murphy stopped Heim’s 2011 Nissan Altima on Interstate 91 northbound at 6:50 p.m. Wednesday for cutting off another driver, and was about to arrest Heim for driving without a license when the man began to struggle with him, according to a police report filed by Murphy.

When Murphy approached the passenger’s side of the vehicle, he noticed the driver was visibly shaking and began to sweat heavily, and told the trooper he didn’t have his license on him because he had “some legal problems in Vermont,” the report said. When the trooper asked Heim to step out of the car, he said “Oh my God, no, don’t make me get out of the car,” according to Murphy.

Heim got out of the vehicle and reached into his sweatshirt pocket, then Murphy grabbed his arm and Heim began to scream “Please Lord Jesus, help me,” repeatedly, the trooper wrote.

Heim continued to ask Jesus for help as he fled toward the back of the cruiser, and Murphy again grabbed him, he wrote. Heim pulled away and Murphy secured him in a bear hug, but Heim managed to get one arm free and elbowed Murphy in the neck, according to the report.

Murphy said drivers on the Interstate had begun to slow down to watch the struggle at that point, and he radioed for backup, then tried to handcuff Heim, he wrote.

Heim continued to struggle, and ripped off his sweatshirt, which freed him from the trooper’s grasp. He ran to the passenger’s side of his vehicle, and Murphy grabbed him again, but he managed to pull himself into the passenger’s seat, where the two continued to struggle, Murphy wrote.

As Heim reached for the center console, Murphy became concerned for his safety, and pepper sprayed Heim after warning him five times, according to the report. Heim still fought, trying to grab the pepper spray from the trooper before it fell from their hands and out of the vehicle, Murphy wrote.

Heim got halfway into the driver’s seat and attempted to put the car in gear. He managed to get one of his feet on the gas pedal, and Murphy punched him twice in the face before Heim yanked the car into gear and began to drive, with Murphy’s right leg still dangling from the car, Murphy wrote.

The trooper continued to battle Heim, and decided to disengage and jump from the car when it exceeded 10 mph, according to the report. Murphy watched as Heim accelerated into the right lane, nearly striking another vehicle, then ran to his cruiser and gave pursuit, he wrote.

A state police helicopter, as well as three troopers from the Northampton and Shelburne barracks, and Deerfield Police were called to join the chase, and Murphy saw Heim throw something from his car onto the median strip, according to the report.

Troopers searched the median, but did not find anything, according to State Police spokesman David Procopio.

Heim continued to flee, hitting speeds over 100 mph, and three other troopers arrived to assist in the chase, according to the report.

Deerfield police sped past the Nissan and deployed a “stop stick,” which shredded both of the car’s left tires, forcing it to stop 1.5 miles later, according to the report.

Murphy and trooper Steven Hean drew their guns and approached the car, and Heim locked the doors and lit a cigarette, Murphy wrote. After ordering Heim out to no avail, Hean broke the driver’s side window with his baton, and the two troopers removed him from the vehicle, Murphy wrote.

When they took him out, a bag of crack cocaine fell from his lap, according to the report.

Though Heim was handcuffed and under arrest, he continued to struggle, Murphy wrote.

Once placed in the back of trooper Matthew Baird’s cruiser, Heim began to kick the windows, and troopers had to cuff his legs together with zip-ties, according to the report.

As he was booked, Heim claimed that he was “blacked out” during the struggle and chase, and did not remember anything, Murphy wrote.

The Nissan was towed and later searched. Troopers found a few blue heroin bags sticking out of a panel on the center console, and discovered 182 bags of heroin when the panel was removed, Murphy wrote.

Also in the panel, police found a crack pipe that was “still hot,” according to Murphy.

Murphy did not seek treatment after being dragged from the car, according to a state police spokesman.

Heim was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail by Judge Laurie MacLeod in Greenfield District Court Thursday. He is set to return to court Aug. 11 for a pretrial conference.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279 On Twitter, follow @RecorderRain

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