Muscatine deputy shoots at car during pursuit

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Elizabeth Dietenberger

The county attorney says a Muscatine County Sheriff’s deputy was justified when he fired shots at a suspect vehicle during a pursuit.

Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren said the pursuit started when police tried to stop a vehicle that was reportedly northbound in the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 61 at about 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 8, 2013.

A deputy spotted the suspect vehicle, driven by 31-year-old Elizabeth Dietenberger of Iowa City, and tried to stop it in the 1600 block of South Grandview Avenue.  Ostergren said the vehicle stopped but then fled.

Dietenberger reportedly pulled over again in the 600 block of Mississippi Drive, but when police approached the vehicle the driver again pulled away.  That’s when a deputy fired one shot at a tire on the suspect vehicle.

The pursuit resumed again.  Ostergren said the deputy tried to use his vehicle to stop the suspect vehicle, but Dietenberger again pulled away from police.  The deputy then shot at Dietenberger’s vehicle a second time.

The pursuit ended when Dietenberger reportedly drove across a field at Duncan Drive and Fulliam Avenue.  When she drove the car near the parking lot at the county building, the deputy used his car to pin the suspect vehicle against a fence post.

Ostergren said Dietenberger faces numerous traffic violations and a misdemeanor count of eluding a pursuing law enforcement vehicle.  Online records show Dietenberger was released from the Muscatine County Jail after she posted bond.

Ostergren said the deputy’s actions were appropriate.

“I am satisfied that the force used here was appropriate and lawful. The law enforcement personnel acted bravely to bring a highly dangerous situation to an end without any injuries to the public, themselves, or the suspect,” Ostergren said.

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