NEWINGTON - Hartford officers took the shoplifting suspect accused of dragging a Newington officer 150 yards Saturday into custody in their city, officials said.
The suspect, identified as 37-year-old Joshua Coonradt allegedly reached for a gun when he was pulled over by the officer after a shoplifting incident at Best Market at 175 Lowrey Place.
As he and the officer struggled, Coonradt sped off dragging the officer as the suspect’s vehicle was navigating oncoming traffic, Police Chief Stephen Clark said. “We’re glad he’s all right, things could have been much worse considering the speed, the distance and the opposing traffic,” Clark said.
The officer was able to free himself but suffered minor injuries, Sgt. Christopher Perry said. Police are not releasing his name, Perry said. He returned to duty that night, Clark said.
The incident began unfolding at 2:05 p.m. Saturday when an employee of Best Market noticed that a male and female left the store without paying for $190 worth of beer, Perry said.
Responding officers found the woman who was identified as Sandra Weeks still at the scene. But the male had taken off in a green Honda Civic before police arrived. Weeks gave “minimal information” about the man who she said she didn’t know that well, Perry said. Weeks did not provide an explanation as to why the pair were stealing the beer, he said.
An officer who was also headed to the scene spotted the Honda traveling east on East Cedar Street and pulled the vehicle over just past the Wethersfield town line on Wells Road, Perry said.
As the officer approached the Honda, the driver reached for a handgun on the dashboard, police said. The officer and the man struggled before the driver took off at a “high rate of speed” with the officer being dragged alongside the vehicle, police said. The officer was dragged about 150 yards before he was able to break free, Perry said. He did not seek medical attention, Perry said.
Police were on the lookout for the name and whereabouts of the driver who fled and had issued a photo of the suspect Tuesday afternoon. Hartford police located Coonradt and arrested him on charges “stemming from their contact with him,” Newington police said Wednesday.
Newington police obtained an arrest warrant charging Coonradt with several offenses including assault on a police officer first-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree larceny, reckless driving and operating under suspension. The warrant is expected to be served Friday, police said.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or .