by CHRIS ROGERS
The man accused of pointing a gun at a Winona Police officer testified in his own trial yesterday. Daryl Scott Jackson, 56, of Lanesboro, told the jury that he did pick up a pistol that was underneath his seat when Winona Police Department (WPD) Officer Doug Inglett asked for his driver’s license and proof of insurance during a traffic stop on Garvin Heights Road after midnight on July 2, 2016.
Jackson had a permit to carry and said he was trying to give his unloaded .45-caliber pistol to Inglett. “I wanted him to have my gun so there was no problem,” Jackson testified. “My intention was to give him my gun, and it was unloaded and I knew that,” he stated.
Inglett did not know that, and he and WPD Officer Wade Anderson fired numerous rounds at Jackson’s vehicle. One of those rounds hit Jackson in the neck. Jackson testified that the bullet passed through the nape of his neck. A video shows Inglett continuing to fire as Jackson drove off, leading police on a chase that ended with Jackson’s eventual surrender on Interstate 90. The Winona County Attorney’s Office charged Jackson with second-degree assault, fleeing peace officers in a motor vehicle, driving while intoxicated, and failing to comply with police orders.
After jurors listened to witnesses for the prosecution last week and this Monday, Jackson took the stand yesterday to testify on his behalf. July 4, 2016, fell on a Monday, and after picking up groceries in Rushford for the long, holiday weekend, Jackson said he stopped at the American Legion in Peterson and drank two beers over roughly two hours. He said he then headed to Winona to get something to eat from Taco Bell and to buy gardening supplies at Wal-Mart. While driving north on Highway 43 out of Rushford, Jackson stated that he noticed a car tailgating him. “I thought it was following too close to me, and I didn’t like that,” Jackson said. The driver, it turned out, was off-duty Winona County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Deputy Les Ladewig, who testified that Jackson’s vehicle was crossing the fog line and centerline and changing speeds. Ladewig said he suspected Jackson was impaired so he followed Jackson’s vehicle one to two car lengths behind while trying to call dispatchers. Jackson, of course, did not know who was in the vehicle. He testified that he slowed down and moved to the right so the car could pass, but it never did. He testified that, at times, he sped up because the car was following so closely behind him. Ladewig would continue to follow Jackson as he turned to enter Winona via Garvin Heights Road. Jackson described getting increasingly nervous as the car continued to follow him even as he turned off Garvin Heights Road onto Buck Ridge Drive and made several turns onto Conrad Drive, Vista Drive, and Skyline Drive. “Well, now I knew something was up, but I was scared,” Jackson said. Jackson had just started driving south on Garvin Heights Road when Inglett pulled him over in a marked squad car.
When Inglett asked Jackson for his license, Jackson said he started to unbuckle his seat belt so he could reach his wallet. “It occurred to me — the gun in the vehicle — and [I] told him I had a permit to carry,” Jackson stated. Jackson told the jury that he picked up the gun under his seat and intended to give it to Inglett, but — contrary to Inglett’s testimony — he never raised the gun above his legs or pointed it at Inglett.
On cross examination, Jackson admitted to prosecutor Christina Galewski that he knew guns should always be handled as though they are loaded. He acknowledged that police officers want to see subject’s hands during a traffic stop. “They don’t want someone to produce a weapon, [right?]” Galewski asked. “I don’t know how to answer that,” Jackson responded. “I can answer that they don’t want to, but maybe they do because I have a permit to carry.” Galewski stated, “You could just tell them, ‘Officer, I have a firearm with me.’” Jackson replied, “Right.”
After he picked the gun up, Inglett started yelling, “Gun!” Jackson testified. A video shows Inglett telling Jackson, “Put your [expletive] hands up!” Jackson did not recall that. “Just split seconds later shots were ringing out and I didn’t know what to do,” Jackson stated. As a barrage of bullets struck the vehicle, one striking Jackson in the neck and another narrowly missing him and hitting the windshield in front of him, Jackson told the jury what was going through his head: “If I didn’t get out of this line of fire or these bullets shooting at me, the next one is going to hit me in the head and I’m going to be dead.” So he put the car in drive and took off, he testified.
When Galewski asked Jackson why he did not stop for the police chasing him all the way to the interstate or follow police commands to put his hands out the window and surrender in the ensuing standoff, Jackson said that he was convinced the police were going to shoot him again. At the time, some law enforcement officers believed Jackson was suicidal and that the incident was a potential suicide by cop situation, meaning that Jackson was trying to get police officers to kill him. Jackson testified: “I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to get shot. I had no intention of shooting myself or hurting myself. I didn’t want this to happen.” Jackson said that when he told WCSO negotiator Josh Murphy over a cellphone that he wanted to “end it,” he meant ending the standoff peacefully, which Jackson finally did. He refused to surrender without keeping Murphy on the phone with him the whole time. “He was my only link — any shred of trust I had with anybody then,” Jackson said, in an apparent reference to the numerous officers surrounding him at that point.
Closing arguments were wrapped up on Tuesday just before the Winona Post went to press, and the jury was set to begin deliberations. Keep reading for more on this story.