AUBURN, Ind. (WANE) — Auburn police officer Steve Vallance was responding to a call of a man running in and out of traffic on State Road 8. Just when he was about to put handcuffs on him it all went sideways, until backup showed up.
“As I was attempting to place the other handcuff on to him that’s when he decided that it was time to fight and the next thing I know we’re down in a ditch rolling around,” Vallance said.
During the struggle with 18-year-old Allen Wilcox, Vallance said the teen kicked him in the head. The struggle caught the attention of people passing by.
“He’s just fighting and fighting and fighting and me and my boss were like we got to stop, we got to stop, we got to stop,” Heather Kovalcik said.
Andy Jagoda hurdled over a fence and crossed the busy road to get to the officer.
“I helped hold the guy on the ground,” Jagoda said.
Six people in all stopped to help Vallance.
“We were able to gain control of his other arm and place him into custody,” Vallance said.
It’s a far cry from some of the things happening to police around the country.
“Instead of pulling their cell phones out and video taping police encounters like you see on the news all the time these days they decided that this wasn’t going to happen in their town and they were going to help,” Vallance said.
For the people who stopped to help they said it was a no brainer.
“My dad was a state policeman for 29 years so they are special to me,” Jagoda said. “I think that’s probably why the adrenaline kicked in and I didn’t have second thoughts about it. That’s what we do in a small community like this. We help each other out.”
“My boyfriend is going to a police officer and I would really hope that somebody would stop and help him if that was happening,” Kovalcik said.
It’s not his normal backup, but it was no doubt just as appreciated.
“It restores your faith in humanity that there’s still people out there that will do the right thing whether it’s a police officer or another citizen,” Vallance said.
Wilcox was arrested on preliminary charges of resisting a law enforcement officer and battery on an officer.