Indian River County Sheriff's deputy dragged by suspect's car speaks out about near-death experience

Deputy Brian Bell hopes video saves lives

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- - A Treasure Coast deputy is happy to be alive and speaking out for the first time since being dragged along a road by the driver of a car he was attempting to arrest.

Indian River County Sheriff's deputy Brian Bell was trying to arrest Andrew Coffee for alleged marijuana possession. Bell said when  Coffee broke free of the cuffs, driver Wesley Clark floored it, dragging Bell more than 20 feet along the road.
"Well it took me a second to realize what had happened. I was so focused on the immediate threat," said Bell.

The deputy was so focused on getting his man, he jumped right back up and ran to his squad car just second after nearly dying.    

"I had a mission. My mission was to take Mr. Coffee into custody. The driver kind of inconvenienced that and I wanted to go get home and go get my handcuffs back," said Bell.

Coffee was eventually found and arrested.

Clark is still missing and that bother Bell.

"It could have gone a lot worse than it did. I could have gone under it, it could have ran over my head and I'm just thankful that it didn't. I'm glad that there was a lot of luck and training on my side," said Bell.

After watching the video, Bell admits he made mistakes. He said he should have taken the keys from Clark and should not have held onto the vehicle.

Bell said his misstep could save the life of another deputy or officer.
"I think it's definitely something other officer can learn from," said Bell.

And if he bumps into Clark again, Bell said he already knows what he would say to him.

"You're under arrest, go turn yourself in," said Bell.

Bell said the event does not change how he feels about his job.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Clark should call the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

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