The driver of a car involved in a high-profile police shooting in New Haven earlier this year was arrested early Friday morning after he allegedly struck a bicyclist and led officers on a car chase. The bicyclist left the scene on foot. Police are urging the person to come forward.
Paul Witherspoon, 21, faces multiple charges including carrying a dangerous weapon and operating under the influence. Police said Witherspoon appeared in court Friday and was being held on $50,000 bond.
Witherspoon was also the driver of a car that was shot at by Hamden and Yale University police officers on April 16. Witherspoon was not hit at the time, but his girlfriend, Stephanie Washington, was wounded in the incident. The couple was unarmed. The April shooting remains under investigation.
Washington was also a passenger in Friday’s bike collision. Additionally, a third person, Darmichael Mims, 24, was in the vehicle. Both passengers were unharmed, according to police.
Capt. Anthony Duff said Friday's incident began at 12:19 a.m. when a New Haven police officer, parked at a service station parking lot, witnessed the accident at the intersection of Whalley Ave. and Sherman Ave. Police then pursued Witherspoon as he left the scene. "Additional officers conducted a felony traffic stop and the three occupants of the vehicle were detained safely and without further incident," Duff said.
Officers seized a "taser-type stun gun" from Witherspoon's pants pocket. He "told officers he had, in fact, struck a bicyclist. The other two occupants of the vehicle told officers they witnessed Witherspoon strike the bicyclist. Witherspoon and the two occupants told officers Witherspoon was travelling with a green light in his favor," according Duff.
Police said they located the front license plate from Witherspoon's car at the scene of the crash along with a damaged bicycle.
Duff said Witherspoon failed a sobriety test on the scene and was tranported to the NHPD detention facility.
Anyone with information is asked to call the New Haven Police Department at (203) 946-6316.
It’s unclear if Witherspoon has a lawyer who could respond to the most recent allegations.