Citizen helps restrain suspect

POLK COUNTY — A citizen helped Sgt. Tyrone Jenkins restrain Hunter Merkel until further assistance arrived on Friday.

Sgt. Jenkins contacted a male pedestrian, later identified as Merkel (aka Jason Feyko) on Highway 22 just east of Greenwood Road at 3:46 p.m.

The man removed his hands from his pocket, which caused a small Ziplock bag to fall from his pocket onto the ground. The bag contained methamphetamine. Sgt. Jenkins informed Merkel he was being detained when Merkel pulled away and began to fight with Sgt. Jenkins.

Both individuals ended up on the ground in a muddy field just off the highway. Sgt. Jenkins was able to call for assistance on his radio.

Due to slippery conditions, Merkel was close to breaking free when a passing motorist, Malcom Mespelt, of Salem, provided assistance.

Deputies responded along with multiple other surrounding agencies. Deputies arrived on scene about three minutes after the fight began. A Taser was used and deputies gained control of Merkel and placed him in restraints.

One deputy was treated for minor injuries sustained during the fight. Merkel was lodged at Polk County Jail on charges of interfering with a peace officer, tampering with physical evidence and possession of methamphetamine.

“I would like to extend my public heartfelt appreciation to that citizen, Mr. Malcolm Mespelt of Salem,” Sgt. Jenkins said. “My family thanks you. My friends thank you. Malcolm went out of his way to help a stranger. He put himself into an unknown situation and acted selflessly to help me during the time I needed it most.

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