Man sentenced for dragging cop with his car

Published 11:14 am Friday, May 16, 2014

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

A 49-year-old Alabaster man will spend the next three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to causing severe injuries to a Birmingham police officer during a 2013 traffic stop.



Mark Anthony Nelson, who lists an address on Second Avenue Northeast in Alabaster, pleaded guilty to one felony count of second-degree assault in January, and currently is serving a three-year prison sentence for the crime.

Nelson originally was charged with attempted murder in the incident, but his charge was lessened to second-degree assault through a plea agreement, according to Jefferson County Circuit Court records.

Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tommy Nail split Nelson’s original 15-year prison sentence and instead sentenced Nelson to three years through the plea agreement. Nelson has six prior felony convictions, and could have faced up to life in prison under the habitual offender act, according to court documents.

The arrest came after an officer with the Birmingham Police Department’s North Precinct performed a traffic stop on Nelson at about 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2013, in the 2300 block of 34th Avenue North in Birmingham. As the officer approached Nelson’s vehicle, the officer ordered the suspect to turn off his vehicle.

“The suspect refused, and as the officer attempted to remove the suspect’s keys from the vehicle, the suspect began to drive off,” read a Birmingham Police Department press release. “As the suspect drove off, the officer was pulled along the side of the suspect’s vehicle until he fell to the ground.”

After the incident, the officer was transported to the hospital to be treated for “serious injuries sustained during the incident,” according to Birmingham police. The officer’s injuries were not life-threatening.