HOLLY SPRINGS • A Marshall County deputy sheriff underwent a five-hour hip surgery at a Memphis trauma center Tuesday afternoon after he was hit by a car involved in pursuit.
Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said K-9 officer Dustin Allen was laying out a spike strip ahead of the pursuit when the stolen 1994 green Honda swerved and hit him.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” said Dickerson. “The car is low and the main impact was at the waistline from the side.”
The incident started around 12:30 p.m. April 6 just west of Holly Springs on Interstate 22 when a second officer spotted the car, which matched the description of a car reported stolen out of Memphis, Tennessee. The deputy started pursuing the eastbound car as it headed toward Holly Springs.
“The car, which was occupied by two people, went into Holly Springs and turned south on Highway 7,” Dickerson said. “The car then turned around and got back on the interstate heading west. He stopped momentarily, before heading back toward Memphis.”
As the first deputy continued the pursuit and relayed information, Allen stopped to set up spike sticks on I-22 between the West Holly Springs and Red Banks exits.
“When the car got to the spike strips, it swerved and hit the officer,” Dickerson said. “The driver did stop. He sat there racing his engine as the deputy laid injured in the roadway. I don’t know what that was about but he didn’t offer to help the officer.”
The pursuing officer saw the entire incident and quickly took driver Robert Darnell Watkins, 36, of Collierville, Tennessee, into custody. The passenger is not currently being charged, but he may face future charges when the case is presented to the grand jury.
Since the case involves an officer, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation will handle the investigation and Watkins is being held in a facility outside of Marshall County. He was booked into the DeSoto County Adult Detention Facility Monday on the charges of fugitive from justice, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and failure to appear.
“The driver knew he was in a stolen car and he ran,” Dickerson said. “And he swerved and hit the officer. He will likely be charged with attempted murder, felony fleeing and grand larceny.”
Allen was conscious on the scene but in a lot of pain. He was airlifted to Regional One Health in Memphis. The most serious injury was a severely dislocated hip. Following surgery, there will be a lengthy recovery period. Dickerson said the officer will be off for several weeks.
A special fund has been set up at the Red Banks Baptist Church to help cover the medical bills of Allen, his wife, Gwin, and their new daughter, Charli. People can donate online at www.redbanks.life. Click on the giving icon in the bottom right corner of the page and follow the prompts.
People can donate in person at the church on Red Banks Road just north of the interstate Monday, Wednesday or Thursday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Donations can be mailed to Red Banks Baptist Church, Dustin Allen Family Fund, P.O. Box 9, Red Banks, MS 38661