News and Tribune

CLARKSVILLE — A Clarksville police officer is facing a charge for resisting law enforcement after his wife was pulled over and accused of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Bryan John Coburn, a detective with the Clarksville Police Department, had a case opened against him Friday in Clark Circuit Court No. 3. Court documents show the incident occurred on Sept. 25 when a vehicle being driven by Coburn’s wife was stopped in Jeffersonville by an Indiana State Police trooper.

According to a probable cause affidavit recorded by the arresting ISP trooper and filed in Clark Circuit Court No. 3, the traffic stop occurred at about 1:35 a.m. on Sept. 25.

The trooper stated he was driving south on Mulberry Street when he noticed the driver of an SUV making a “very wide” right turn onto northbound Mulberry.

The trooper stated he made a U-turn and followed the vehicle and observed the driver make two turns without using a signal.

The driver directed the vehicle onto northbound Interstate 65 where it drifted in its lane, the trooper stated in the affidavit. The trooper turned on his lights and the driver of the vehicle exited the interstate onto US 31 north and stopped where the ramp and highway merge rather than pulling completely onto the shoulder, the trooper stated.

The driver provided her license and was identified as Blake D. Coburn, of Sellersburg, according to the affidavit. After explaining why she was being stopped, the trooper stated he was “quickly met with hostility from the highly intoxicated passenger who I later identified as Bryan John Coburn.”

Coburn is the husband of the driver, and he said he was upset that the vehicle was stopped since it had a Fraternal Order of Police license plate, the trooper stated in the affidavit.

Coburn identified himself as a member of the Clarksville Police Department and told the trooper he had a handgun on him, according to the affidavit.

The trooper stated Coburn spoke over his wife while she was being questioned and that he was “met with more hostility” after telling her that he could smell alcohol and wanted her to step out of the vehicle to perform a field sobriety test.

Coburn admitted to drinking alcohol that evening and said he didn’t want his wife performing field sobriety tests, according to the affidavit. Blake Coburn agreed to exit the vehicle and the trooper stated he began speaking with her about the stop.

The trooper stated he again asked if she would perform a field sobriety test, and she asked if she could consult with her husband. The trooper agreed and she walked back to the driver’s side of the vehicle.

After a few moments, Coburn began leaning out of the window and was “argumentative and only wanted to discuss the location of the traffic stop,” the trooper stated in the affidavit.

Blake Coburn eventually declined the field test and was then asked to take a portable breath test. She again asked her husband before refusing the test, according to the affidavit.

At that time the trooper began to place Blake Coburn in handcuffs when, according to the trooper, her husband opened the passenger door and exited the vehicle.

“I quickly met Mr. Coburn on the passenger side as I began giving him loud verbal commands to get back into the vehicle,” the trooper stated in the affidavit. “Mr. Coburn failed to comply and stated, ‘What are you going to do? You gonna tase me?”

The trooper stated that he asked Coburn multiple times to get back into the vehicle, but he remained uncooperative.

“I then reminded Mr. Coburn that this traffic stop was not worth losing his career over,” the trooper stated in the affidavit. “He then laughed and stated, ‘It’s not worth your career.’ Mr. Coburn then sat back into his vehicle and I shut his door. It was obvious he was highly intoxicated.”

While escorting Blake Coburn to his vehicle, the trooper stated Coburn left his vehicle and began advancing toward the ISP car.

Though he was told to get back into his vehicle, the trooper stated Coburn continued to advance and was yelling loudly. The trooper stated he placed his hand on Coburn’s chest and pushed him away as he continued to give verbal commands, and Coburn began yelling to his wife to get out of the ISP car.

Coburn continued to remain hostile and refused to comply, the trooper stated.

“He then grabbed my left arm with both of his hands, and I quickly pulled away,” the trooper stated in the affidavit. “In fear for my safety, due to Mr. Coburn’s increasing verbal and now physical hostility, I drew my Taser and pointed it at him as I continued to give loud verbal commands.”

Coburn walked back to his vehicle, re-entered the passenger seat and told the trooper he’d made a mistake, using an expletive in his description, according to the affidavit.

The trooper called additional officers to the scene because of Coburn’s hostility, according to the affidavit.

The trooper transported Blake Coburn to Clark County jail so a certified breath test could be performed. She was later charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Coburn was left under the supervision of other officers at the scene, according to the affidavit.

A message left with an ISP spokesman Monday requesting the arrest report hadn’t been returned as of publication time. The trooper stated in the affidavit the incident was recorded with dash and body cameras.

The affidavit stated there’s good cause to believe Coburn committed four offenses: Battery on a police officer, obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

Initial case documents filed Friday in Clark Circuit Court No. 3 show Coburn is facing one criminal misdemeanor charge for resisting law enforcement.

Joshua Otto Schalk, the prosecutor for Harrison County, is the lead attorney for the state. Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull is listed as a secondary prosecuting attorney.

Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer said Monday that Coburn, who was hired in 2008, remains employed but has been assigned different duties.

He emphasized that CPD doesn’t investigate its own under such circumstances and that the department will await the outcome of the case before taking action, if warranted. Palmer said Coburn wasn’t on duty at the time of the incident.

“The prosecutor is looking into these charges and allegations. We’re allowing them to do their part before we can do our part,” Palmer said.

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