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Man sentenced for eluding police, ramming police vehicles before being shot

Gary Turner, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault on a law enforcement officer and two charges of property damage (Photo: Franklin County Sheriff's Office)

FRANKLIN Co., Va. (WSET) -- A man involved in an officer-involved shooting last year has been sentenced to almost three years behind bars.

Gary Turner, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault on a law enforcement officer and two charges of property damage.

State Police said Turner attempted to elude a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy and a Rocky Mount Police officer in September 2016 when the officer and deputy attempted to pull him over.

Turner was wanted on an outstanding warrant in Roanoke and his pickup truck fit the description of a "Be on the Lookout" (BOLO) that had just been broadcast over the radio.

When he attempted to flee the scene, officials said the deputy and officer blocked his pickup truck and Turner then began ramming his truck into the law enforcement vehicles.

The Rocky Mount officer fired at the pickup while Turner was running his truck into the vehicles, trying to escape. Turner was hit in the arm.

Turner ended up getting away, but was stopped by the same officers a little while later in a McDonald's parking lot.

At his trial on Tuesday, he said he pulled over for the second time because he noticed he was bleeding.

He was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Turner was sentenced to two years, seven months behind bars after taking the plea deal in court Tuesday; he will also have to pay $14,048.48 in restitution to the Rocky Mount Police Department and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office for the cars that he damaged.

Sentencing guidelines called for a sentence between a year and three months and three years and ten months. The two assault on a law enforcement officer carry a mandatory minimum sentence of six months each. In his ruling, Judge Clyde Perdue picked a sentence at the midpoint of the sentencing guidelines. Turner will get credit for time served, spending a total of 2 years and 7 months behind bars. The rest of his sentence, 13 years and 5 months, will be suspended.

During sentencing, Turner himself took the stand, first apologizing for what happened, saying "I made a mistake."

He then went on to have a heated exchange with Commonwealth's Attorney A.J. Dudley.

While cross examination Turner said, "I was coming back to try and get help."

Dudley then pointed out, "But you have a police officer behind you."

"That's why I was coming back into McDonald's parking lot," explained Turner.

To which Dudley asked, "Why didn't you just stop, just stop?"

"Cause at the time he was behind me, I didn't realize I was shot," Turner replied. That comment led Dudley to ask, "McDonald's got a rescue personnel at McDonald's? Why didn't you stop exactly where you were?"

Turner's mother, Nina Hubbert, was at his trial, taking the stand to plead for a light sentence so Turner can come home to his son. Addressing Judge Perdue, Hubbert said, "I would just ask you sir, to have mercy on him, see if he can get his arm fixed and get back to his son. His little son is just pitiful. He's really pitiful. I just want to get him back to his father."

After Perdue's ruling, Turner asked the judge how he can go about getting physical therapy for his arm that was injured in the shooting. The defense says that while the Western Virginia Regional Jail promised to bring in somebody for physical therapy, that hasn't happened. From her seat in the court, Hubbert spoke to the judge, telling him that Turner had to have tendons from his leg put into his wrist due to his injuries. He said that if he doesn't get the therapy he needs, he could end up losing his hand.

The judge he wants Turner to get the help he needs, but said that was a whole other matter and they would look into that later.

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