By LeaAnne Klentzman
The criminal charges that were filed against a DPS Trooper stemming from an early morning chase in October across three counties have been dropped.
In February of 2011, DPS Trooper Cpl. Andrew Papanos was indicted on one count of aggravated assault and one count of official oppression for his actions at the end of a 73 mile high speed chase from Montgomery County to Fort Bend.
Although it was widely reported that Papanos was indicted, the paperwork was never unsealed so the documents containing the official allegations have never been made public. However, at this week’s Grand Jury, Papanos and his attorney Larry McDougal, and others, were able to present new evidence about the early Halloween morning chase that evidently changed the minds of the Grand Jury. All criminal charges against Papanos were dropped on April 11, 2011.
McDougal said he appreciates the fact that the District Attorney’s Office and the Grand Jury were willing to revisit the incident and listen to new information that had been discovered. Without going into detail, McDougal said it suffices to say that with all the facts before them, the State and Grand Jury saw things in a different light.
Papanos was accused of injuring Ricki Kelley of Montgomery who reportedly fled during a traffic stop which resulted in the long chase across three counties. Reportedly, during the chase Kelley shot at the pursuing officer, drove erratically, eventually slowing along US 59 near Williams Way to let his girlfriend out of the truck; then took off again. At the time of the incident his girlfriend reportedly told police that he was not going to go back to prison. When the chase came to a stop, in west Fort Bend County, Kelley got out of his truck with a shotgun, several deputies fired but never hit him. Papanos is reported to have run up to subdue Kelley using the butt of his shotgun. Kelley was not shot but sustained a head injury which resulted in him being taken to a Houston hospital via air ambulance.
Papanos was suspended with pay from the time of the incident until his indictment on February 21, 2011, at which time he was suspended without pay. With the indictment dropped, McDougal said Papanos is expected to return to his career with DPS; he is a 5 year veteran. McDougal also said, “Andrew is a local Fort Bend boy who grew up in Mission Bend, was an Eagle Scout and served in the Army Infantry in Iraq.”
Although criminal charges have been dropped against Papanos, according to federal court dockets, Papanos and DPS have been sued for what is listed as “civil rights – civil rights other” in a suit brought by Kelley.