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January 13, 2012

Man and officer hit by car after police stop couple

Brilliant, Ohio--One gay man is hospitalized and another pleaded no contest to minor charges after an altercation with a police officer on Christmas night.

Barry Starcher and Jimmy Coil went for a walk after having a bad Christmas. They were sitting on a guard rail when a police officer approached them. While police and Starcher have differing stories about what happened, both Coil and Officer J.J. Kamerer wound up being hit by a car and taken to hospital.

At around 10 pm on December 25, Coil and Starcher were sitting on the rail near the intersection of Third Street and an Ohio 7 off-ramp in Brilliant, on the Ohio River just south of Steubenville.

Wells Township Police Capt. Sean Norman told WTOV Channel 9 in Steubenville that Kamerer approached the couple because he assumed they needed help, but that when he asked what was wrong and if they were okay, the said it was none of his business. Police also said that Coil threw a bottle of prescription medication at the officer’s face, telling him that was his identification.

Police say that they argued and Kamerer chased the men onto Third Street, where a car hit him and Coil.

Kamerer’s leg was injured, but Coil is in critical condition. His lungs were damaged in the collision, and he is unable to speak, although he is responsive, according to a series of posts Starcher put up on Facebook.

Three days after the event, Starcher was interviewed by WTOV and gave his side of the story.

“[Kamerer] asked, ‘What’s going on?’ and we said, ‘Nothing.’ He said, ‘What are you doing?’ We said, ‘Nothing.’ He said, ‘Well, what’s your name?’ And I said, ‘I’m not sure if I should give you that. Why do you want it?’ And that’s when he jumped out of the car,” Starcher said.

He denies Coil threw the pill bottle at Kamerer; instead, he handed him the bottle, noting that it was the only thing he had on him with his name on it. Starcher admits, though, that he and Coil mouthed off to the officer.

He also denies that he and Coil ran from the officer, but asserts that he was sprayed with pepper spray by Kamerer, so he could not see what happened immediately before the collision, although he heard it.

“I heard the officer running into the road screaming, and I see the officer being pushed by the car. And then all of a sudden the car stopped and the officer flies across the road, and when the car backs up, there’s Jimmy laying in the road.”

Starcher pleaded no contest to obstructing official business and failure to disclose personal information. He was scheduled to be sentenced on January 11, but no information on the sentence was available at press time.

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