Trial date set for man charged with attempted murder of deputy during high-speed chase

Brian K. Taylor

OREGON – A February jury trial has been set for an Ohio man who is accused of attempting to kill an Ogle County Sheriff’s deputy with his car to avoid being arrested after a high-speed chase in November.

Brian K. Taylor, 49, of Massillon, Ohio, appeared in court Tuesday with his Public Defender Michael O’Brien who asked Judge John Redington to set a date for a jury trial.

Taylor was arrested Nov. 22 and charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of aggravated battery to a police officer, one count of aggravated assault of a police officer, two counts of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, one count of unlawful display of a license plate and one count of Class A speeding 35-plus mph over the speed limit.

He has pleaded not guilty the charges.

“We are asking for a trial date to be set,” O’Brien said.

“Do you agree?” Redington asked Assistant Ogle County State’s Attorney Matthew Leisten.

“Yes,” Leisten said.

Redington set the jury trial for Feb. 21 and 22. He told both attorneys he expects all motions to be filed by Feb. 14 and set a pretrial hearing for 1 p.m. Feb. 15.

“All motions in limine need to be in by Feb. 14,” Redington said.

Taylor has been in custody in the Ogle County Correctional Center on $500,000 bond since his arrest after the Nov. 22 incident.

During a pretrial hearing Dec. 7 Patrol Sergeant Michael Halfman testified that he thought he was “going to die” when he was standing by his stopped squad when Taylor veered his vehicle at him while fleeing a Stephenson County sheriff’s deputy.

Halfman testified he had been dispatched at 12:15 p.m. to assist with a high-speed chase that had originated in Stephenson County. He said he had parked his squad car at the intersection of Freeport and Milledgeville roads in Ogle County and was ready to deploy “stop sticks” to flatten Taylor’s tires when he saw Taylor and the Stephenson County squad coming at a “high rate of speed” in the southbound lane.

He said Taylor’s Mazda swerved into the northbound lane and then directly at him causing him to “shuffle” to try to avoid being hit as the Mazda veered into the ditch.

“I thought he was going to hit me. I thought I was going to die,” Halfman said at the December hearing.

Earlier in the preliminary hearing, Stephenson County Deputy Anthony Miller testified he started pursuing Taylor about 11:59 a.m. in Dakota, Illinois, on Route 75, after clocking him at 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Miller said he pursued Taylor to U.S. Route 20 when he realized he was fleeing. He said Taylor made “abrupt turns” and went through a ditch and over a median while “appearing to smile” before entering Freeport. He said Taylor disobeyed stop signs and traffic signals during the pursuit with speeds reaching 110 mph when going west on Route 20.

The chase then went south into Ogle County on Illinois Route 26 and eventually Freeport Road.

As the vehicles reached the intersection of Freeport and Milledgeville roads, Miller said he could clearly see Halfman and his parked squad in the northbound lane. He said Taylor’s Mazda veered toward Halfman and then the ditch before entering the ditch and then exiting the ditch, eventually striking his squad car.

Taylor’s car came to rest in the ditch and Taylor was apprehended.

The jury trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The pretrial hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.