Multiple charges filed after shotgun incident

JACKSON TWP. — A Brown County man faces multiple charges related to a domestic incident involving a shotgun on the morning of Feb. 25.

At 6 a.m., deputies were dispatched to a home in the 4400 block of Branstetter Road for a report of a man with a shotgun who was threatening to shoot another woman in the home. Dispatch reported that children also were in the home, along with other firearms.

When Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy William Pool arrived five minutes later, he met a pickup truck in the driveway with James L. Meece Jr., 56, of Branstetter Road, in the driver’s seat.

Pool parked his police vehicle in the driveway with its headlights and emergency lights on. He took his shotgun out and pointed a spotlight at the vehicle, and was giving loud verbal commands for Meece to stop the truck, according to a probable cause affidavit by Lt. Mike Moore.

Meece drove his truck through the yard, around Pool’s vehicle, and onto Branstetter Road toward Bear Creek Road, the report said. Pool gave chase and tried to stop the truck until Meece pulled over north of Slippery Elm Shoot Road, the report said.

Pool reported that Meece smelled of alcohol, that his speech was slurred, his eyes were red/watery, and he was swaying. A breath test showed his blood-alcohol content to be 0.09. Deputy Josh Stargell assisted Pool with taking Meece into custody.

Moore went to the home. The occupants told him Meece had been drinking whiskey heavily the night before, being loud and making threats. The victim recorded some of the argument on her phone. She and a relative told Moore that Meece had struck the victim in the mouth earlier that morning.

During the argument, Meece reportedly grabbed a shotgun from behind a woodstove and threatened the victim as she attempted to take the gun from him, the report said.

Meece then fired a shot into the ceiling. Another person attempted to run upstairs to the bedroom where people were sleeping, but she fell and injured her eye, the report said. Meece took the shotgun and left the home.

Deputy Joe Jackson found the weapon in a ditch. Meece had thrown it out of the truck while being pursued by police, the report said.

Meece was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital before being booked into the jail.

Meece told officers that the victim was “out of control” when they were arguing. He admitted to getting the gun from behind the stove and smacking her in the mouth at least one or two times as they were struggling over the gun.

He said the gun did go off into the living room ceiling while the two were struggling, that he did take the gun with him when he left the home, according to the affidavit.

Meece said he did not see an officer or police car in the driveway when he was leaving, and he did not know he was being followed by police trying to stop him. He said he thought the officer was en route to another call. He told Moore he had only had one shot of whiskey on Feb. 24.

On Feb. 26, Meece was charged with resisting law enforcement, a Level 6 felony; domestic battery, a Level 6 felony; criminal recklessness, a Level 6 felony; operating a vehicle while intoxicated — endangering a person, a Class A misdemeanor; operating a vehicle with an ACE of 0.08 or more, a Class C misdemeanor; operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a Class C misdemeanor.