Driver punched officer, crashed into Melbourne home, police say

Published On: Apr 18 2013 05:22:37 AM EDT
Updated On: Apr 17 2013 01:49:56 PM EDT

A man suspected of driving drunk punched a Melbourne police officer before racing away and crashing into a house, officials say.

MELBOURNE, Fla. -

A driver pulled over on suspicion of driving drunk punched a Melbourne police officer -- and also beat his girlfriend -- before racing away and crashing into a house, injuring her and himself, officials said.

Phillip Rodier, 22, was arrested hours after his Nissan 350Z convertible crashed into a home on Melbourne Avenue.  His girlfriend, who was a passenger in the car and tried to get him to stop, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Melbourne police said.

Police stopped the car late Tuesday night near Cherry Street and U.S. 1. Police said officers approached the car and saw that Rodier was likely intoxicated. When they asked him to step out of the car, he became aggressive and punched one officer, according to police.

Rodier got back in the car and fought with his girlfriend, who tried to get out, police said. He drove off and police followed as he crashed into the home of Eileen McGurk at 611 Melbourne Ave.

"We were in bed, we were sleeping," she said. "The boom woke us up."

Rodier ran away, leaving his girlfriend trapped in the mangled car, police said.

McGurk and her husband, Jim Valot, were concerned about the woman's injuries, as well as damage to their home. Outside, a corner of the cinderblock foundation had been torn away, exposing crawlspace under the home. Inside, pieces of hardwood flooring were knocked loose and a crack ran along the plaster wall.

"I think it's irresponsible and very dangerous," she said of drunken driving. "A lot of innocent people get hurt in one way or another."

Though the home was badly damaged, the pair were cleared to stay there.

Rodier faces charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting with violence, resisting without violence, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, felony fleeing and eluding with serious injury, false imprisonment, domestic violence battery and driving under the influence.

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