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Two officers assaulted while arresting teens for drinking

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Aug. 18, 2001
A Meridian policeman was hospitalized Friday after he and another officer were assaulted while investigating a complaint at the Best Western Motel on South Frontage Road.
Officer Harvey W. McKinion and Sgt. Alexander Spears were allegedly attacked early Friday by two 19-year-olds from Houma, La., who were being arrested for underage drinking. McKinion and Spears were struck in the face and body.
Lt. Wade Johnson, a spokesman for the Meridian Police Department, said that McKinion was still hospitalized as of Friday afternoon. Johnson did not know if McKinion remained in the hospital Friday night.
Gareth Terhune and Byron Bourg Jr. were charged with simple assault on a police officer, which Johnson said is a felony offense. Terhune and Bourg remained in jail Friday night.
Terhune was charged with two counts for allegedly assaulting both officers; his bond was set at $20,000. Bourg was charged with assaulting McKinion; his bond was set at $15,000.
Also arrested at the Best Western were Jacob Varnes, 19, of Gheens, La., and Danny Legendre, 19, of Houma. Varnes was charged with disorderly conduct and refusing to obey an officer; Legendre was charged with underage drinking and disorderly conduct.
Varnes and Legendre also remained in jail Friday night.
A press release from the MPD said that McKinion and Spears initially were responding to a harassing telephone complaint that may have originated from a room at the Best Western.
When the officers arrived, the release said, they found the teen-agers already violating the city's underage drinking laws. The release said the officers were struck during the course of the arrest.
The assault is not the first for Lauderdale County law enforcement officers. Last week, the two men pleaded guilty in Lauderdale County Circuit Court to assaulting law officers.
Dan Earl Person Jr. pled guilty to aggravated assault on a law officer and was sentenced to five years in prison with nine months to serve and the rest suspended. He also received five years of probation and must pay $3,000 in restitution.
Daniel Clint Galyean pled guilty to simple assault on a law officer and was sentenced to five years of probation. Galyean also was ordered to pay a $500 fine and $500 in restitution.