By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Timothy Tyrell Daily isn’t a fighter.
The closest the married father of two has ever come, he says, is watching ultimate fighting competitions on television.
Yet the other day, while taking his brother-in-law for a spin in his newly purchased Honda Civic, the 25-year-old Napavine man soon found himself wrestling on the side of Interstate 5 in Chehalis after witnessing a man – allegedly – attack a lone state trooper.
“It was just kind of a natural reaction for us,” Daily said. “It was a hairy situation.”
Daily and his brother-in-law Jared Kasinger assisted Trooper Robert Moore in trying to restrain a kicking and punching subject, who was finally cuffed by Moore after an off-duty Centralia police detective joined in the fray.
It happened about 6:30 p.m. the Tuesday before last.
The suspect, Don K. Gonzales, 23, of Centralia, is charged with second-degree assault and other offenses, including attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer.
Gonzales is in the Lewis County Jail on a no-bail hold.
Moore, whose nose and glasses were broken when a semi truck lug bolt was thrown at his face, was appreciative of the two civilians.
According to charging documents, Trooper Moore encountered the man walking along the shoulder of the southbound off ramp at Main Street.
He had told Gonzales to drop two sticks he was carrying and a pocket knife he was “clicking”. When he drew his Taser, Gonzales reportedly replied “Don’t tase me” and dropped the knife.
Then Moore did fire his Taser as Gonzales wound up and threw the lug nut.
Daily said he saw Gonzales take three or four swings at the trooper before the trooper was able to get him in a bear hug.
Then the fight was on.
“When they jumped in, I know their heart was in the right spot,” Trooper Moore said. “And I appreciate that.”
The trooper, who came to court when Gonzales was charged, said he wouldn’t talk further about the incident, wanting to avoid messing up the case in any way.
His left eye was blackened and the injuries to his nose were described as a displaced fracture of the nasal spine and fracture to the left nasal bone.
Kasinger, 24, from Chehalis, ended up with a twisted wrist, according to charging documents. Daily was left with “busted knuckles, not actually broken though, he said, from trying to punch the man into submission.
Daily is an auto body man at Hassler’s in Chehalis where he fixes up cars.
That day, after he picked up his new wheels in Centralia, he stopped by the fireworks stand at Wal-Mart to show his brother-in-law.
They were headed south on Interstate 5 and began slowing when they spotted the trooper pointing a weapon, just in case, he said.
“Obviously it’s a situation,” Daily said. “It’s not good if he has a Taser out, though I didn’t know it was a Taser.”
Daily said he started to pull over and his brother-in-law – who has previous experience working as a corrections officer in California – bailed out before the car stopped.
“I just followed him,” he said “He’s my brother-in-law.”
It was plain as day the trooper was in trouble, he said.
He said he saw the object bounce of the trooper’s face.
“He stumbled back, said some curse words, it knocked him pretty good,” Daily said.
Moore, Kasinger and the man were on the ground, when Daily jumped onto the man’s lower half, he said, “I wrapped my arms around his legs and my legs around his legs.”
The tussle lasted maybe three or four minutes, but it felt like much longer, he said.
The trooper was yelling at him to stop, be still, he said.
“It was a struggle, it was a fight,” he said. “I promise you, I tried with all my might to hurt him.”
He said the trooper gave them instructions, and finally said to just keep holding him down until backup arrived.
Charging documents say Centralia police detective Rick Hughes arrived; Daily remembers two plain clothed officers helping while the suspect was finally cuffed.
Daily, when recounting the brawl, repeatedly said while the trooper appeared in trouble, he also was surely very capable of handling the situation.
“But it wouldn’t have ended pretty, he said.
“I will say, anyone who can take a three-inch lug nut to the face, and still have the consciousness to help us get this guy to the ground, he’s a bad ass.”
Because it happened in Chehalis, the Chehalis Police Department handled the case against Gonzales.
Chehalis Deputy Chief Randy Kaut had no qualms about the two civilians intervening.
“In this case, we had an officer with serious injuries and it sounds like he was struggling,” Kaut said. “To me, they should be commended.”
Kaut said he couldn’t recall in his career ever having a non-police officer jump in and help, but said in the Twin Cities, there’s almost always backup, even on traffic stops.
“It’s just an unspoken rule,” Kaut said, because you never know who you’re going to pull over.
Troopers and sheriff’s deputies are more likely to find themselves alone during such an encounter because of the wide ranging areas they cover, he said.
Lewis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Stacy Brown said it probably happens more often than we hear about.
“In my 16 years I’ve been here, I’ve heard stories from deputies by themselves out in Randle or Packwood, when log truck drivers have pulled over to help,” Brown said.
Different officers may have differing takes on how they’d view civilians getting involved in an arrest, she said.
“I can tell you what my opinion is, when there’s a fight, and you’re getting hurt, any help is welcome,” Brown said. “That might not be the consensus.”
Washington State Patrol Sgt. Freddy Williams is a supervisor at the state patrol academy in Shelton. He’s taught defensive tactics there.
Williams offered some things for would-be good samaritans to consider.
“When I’m on the ground, I don’t know if they’re there to help me or the bad guy,” Williams said.
His advice: The first words out of the civilian’s mouth need to be, “Officer, do you need help?”
A caution: “If a civilian comes up with a weapon in their hand, you can just imagine what goes through my mind.”
“On a personal note, if I’m out there and I’m getting my clock cleaned,” Williams said. “I’m going to welcome it, and I’m going to say thank you.”
Gonzales was charged second-degree assault, a crime with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
He was also charged with three counts of third-degree assault, one regarding detective Hughes as he allegedly kicked Hughes in the chest, plus one each for Daily and Kasinger.
The Chehalis Fire Department said Gonzales was checked by medics for “scrapes and what not” but not transported to the hospital.
Information in his court file lists him as 5-feet 7-inches tall and weighing 157 pounds.
When Gonzales appeared in Lewis County Superior Court on July 5, he told the judge he didn’t know who he was, according to temporary defense attorney Bob Schroeter.
His arraignment was supposed to be Thursday, but he was not brought to court by jail staff.
As Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer put it to the judge: “It’s my understanding he preferred not to attend.”
Court appointed defense attorney Ken Johnson said he hadn’t had a chance to meet with his new client.
Johnson said he went to the jail to see him, but Gonzales was being kept in solitary.
“They said I could go back and see him in the hole, but that would not be productive,” Johnson said. “I guess he’s responding to internal stimuli. Voices in his head.”